Stanley Renshon's blog

MPI Cheerleads for the Obama Administration's Enforcement Record

By Stanley Renshon, February 4, 2016

In thinking and writing about immigration, it's always advisable to be familiar with your sources. It's important and useful to know for example, that the editorial page and news sections of the Wall Street Journal are different entities, and that news reporters working for the former are proud of their independence and separation from the later.

Moreover, it's not enough to know that the New York Times generally has a liberal slant in both its news and opinion sections. Some reporters there really are independent minded and can be read with more confidence than skepticism. You just have to learn who they are, wherever they write. Read more...

The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker's Gushing Ode to Governor Haley: A Moderate's Diatribe, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, January 27, 2016

Of all the subjects covered in Governor Haley's response to the president's SOTU address, two items stands out loud and clear in the Washington Post's Kathleen Parker's opinion piece about it. Read more...

The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker's Gushing Ode to Governor Haley: A Moderate's Diatribe, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, January 26, 2016

Kathleen Parker's admiring ode to Governor Nikki Haley's response to the president's SOTU address focuses on one small part of it, and then uses it to ride one of her favorite hobby-horses — GOP extremism. Read more...

The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker's Gushing Ode to Governor Haley: A Moderate's Diatribe, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, January 25, 2016

Kathleen Parker is a conservative opinion writer at the Washington Post, but a soft one. That is, she is willing to take a look at the impact of political correctness on military preparedness, or how a focus on self-esteem creates thin-skinned college students. Yet, she is also willing to smear Trump supporters, on the basis of a rinky-dink study of their supposed "authoritarianism". That is "obvious" because people who want their "children to be respectful, obedient, well-behaved and well-mannered have a propensity to support Trump." Why soon they'll be teaching their children Nazi salutes! Read more...

The Washington Post's Cockamamie Constitutional Advice on the "Natural Born Citizen" Requirement for the Presidency

By Stanley Renshon, January 22, 2016

Cockamamie: adjective, Slang.
1. ridiculous, pointless, or nonsensical: full of wild schemes and cockamamie ideas.

As most Americans now realize, the Constitution contains a provision requiring our presidents to be natural-born citizens. And, as anyone who has been paying the least attention to the emerging presidential race knows, one GOP candidate, Ted Cruz, has had questions raised about his legal standing to assume that office because he was born in Canada even though his mother was American. Read more...

What, If Anything, Has Marco Rubio Learned about Immigration Reform? (Part 2 of 2)

By Stanley Renshon, January 20, 2016

Immigration is a very complicated policy area and many aspiring presidents like Marco Rubio have an incentive to make it more so. The reason is that they are caught between the need to make primary voter appeals to their party's base and the need to not disqualify themselves in the eyes of the more general electorate. Read more...

What, If Anything, Has Marco Rubio Learned about Immigration Reform? (Part 1 of 2)

By Stanley Renshon, January 20, 2016

Marco Rubio is, in a number of ways, an attractive presidential candidate. He is young, politically articulate, and brings a quintessential American immigrant success story to his candidacy. In other election cycles, he would be among the top-tier candidates, but he isn't, and the fault is primarily his. Read more...

Pressuring Students in the Service of Teaching Diversity

By Stanley Renshon, December 30, 2015

For many years immigration specialists have pointed to the historical success of assimilation in sparing the United States the ethnic, national, and racial conflicts that other counties have experienced. As scholars such as David Hollinger, Peter D. Salins, and Arthur M. Schlesinger have pointed out, this is no accident. Rather it comes from a history in which ordinary Americans and those who headed America's primary governmental and cultural institutions agreed that assimilation to American values and cultural premises were the not-particularly-hidden secret of that success. Read more...

The Public Religion Research Institute Strikes Again: The "Unaccompanied Children" Poll, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, October 21, 2014

The Public Religion Research Institute ought to be more careful with both its polling and its commentary on it. It has already put into the public domain a thoroughly misleading poll on the public's preferred choices on immigration reform. That poll gave respondents two options, only one of which was at all plausible.

Their most recent attempt to report the public's views is a poll devoted to the summer surge of illegal migrants, or "unaccompanied children," as the survey repeatedly refers to them. Read more...

The Public Religion Research Institute Strikes Again: The "Unaccompanied Children" Poll, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, October 16, 2014

Faulty questions and untenable options are not the only means by which uninformative immigration poll results can be produced.

Sometimes polls don't have to resort to survey subterfuge; instead, results can be reported in a way that gives an entirely wrong and misleading impression. In doing so, they can then count on others to report what they have announced, confident that most readers will not bother to read, or think through, the actual results. Read more...

Recent Immigration Polls: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, October 14, 2014

Bad immigration polls, like the one published by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Brookings Institution that I analyzed the other day, fail because they ask narrow, "either/or", and loaded questions for a purpose: to get the result they support. Read more...

Recent Immigration Polls: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, October 8, 2014

Divining the views of the public on immigration is an exceedingly difficult task. There are always the technical questions about survey methods that need to be taken into account. Are the samples large enough? Representative enough? Are they Internet-only survey instruments or are they conducted by interviewers or are they mechanical calls?

These "technical" questions influence the reliability of the numbers we read and thus our confidence in the results. But these matters are only the proverbial tip of a very large iceberg whose major consequences are hidden in plain sight. Read more...

Immigration Lame-Duck Fantasies Redux, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, October 3, 2014

The Obama administration is threatening the equivalent of immigration fire and brimstone if Republicans don't make a lame-duck session deal. Yet their idea of a deal seems to be: Give us what we want in an immigration bill or we'll do it ourselves by executive action.

It's a maximalist position that reflects no real interest in accommodation. And at this stage the administration clearly feels there doesn't have to be any. Read more...

Immigration Lame-Duck Fantasies Redux, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, October 2, 2014

It's lame-duck immigration amnesty fantasy time at the White House again, though this year's version starts with a threat. The threat came from Vice President Joe Biden who, "challenged Republicans to 'see the Lord' or the 'lightning' in regard to immigration reform during a speech he made at a reception for Hispanic Heritage month." Read more...

Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 5

By Stanley Renshon, September 30, 2014

The president's forthcoming executive amnesty and enforcement actions are likely to be an immigration Rubicon for the Republican Party — for its supporters, its elected officials, and its 2016 presidential candidates.

Let me start with Republican supporters and their elected officials. A recent Pew poll tells all in its title: "Neither Party Gets Good Marks from Its Base for Handling Illegal Immigration". According to the poll, 56 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners feel that the Republican Party is not doing a good job on illegal immigration. Read more...

Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 4

By Stanley Renshon, September 27, 2014

In taking his immigration executive actions – especially if, as expected, they are expansive – the president will have thrown down a monumental, even radical, challenge to the American tradition of governance as well as to the American public and, not incidentally, to the Republican Party.

He and his allies can be expected justify his actions by all the means at his disposal, and they will be considerable. They are, however, by no means insurmountable. Read more...

Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, September 25, 2014

The Obama administration will field a formidable array of political resources to rationalize and legitimize the president's forthcoming executive immigration amnesty. Those who oppose his executive order will have nowhere near the president's resources and thus will begin with a decided disadvantage.

In that sense it will be round two of another immigration "David vs. Goliath" fight, the first one having been won by House Republican Davids who managed to stop the "comprehensive reform" juggernaut that reached its culmination with the passage of the massive 2013 Senate Democratic immigration legislation.

That fight was fought on different grounds than the executive actions fight will be fought. Broadly speaking, the difference will be a fight that was won by doing nothing versus a fight that can only be won by doing something. Read more...

Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, September 23, 2014

Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 2
Responding to the President's Immigration Fiat, Pt. 3

The president is very likely to take executive action "before the end of the holiday season" that grants administrative amnesty to large groups of illegal aliens and may contain other provisions that reward his corporate and political supporters. The administration has not disclosed the exact provisions and it is likely that at this stage there are several drafts, each with somewhat different elements. It's likely that the final version will be dependent in part on the midterm election results as well as domestic and foreign circumstances.

However extensive the provisions are, responding to the president's immigration legislation-by-executive-order will not be easy. Read more...

The Executive Immigration Order That Breaks the Obama Presidency? Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, September 19, 2014

When a president's major policy initiative, like President Obama's healthcare initiative, never gains public support, he is in trouble. When, in addition, the public no longer supports many of the president's other major domestic or foreign policies, the trouble is far more serious. And when both of the preceding are true and the public views the president as "weak", ineffective", or "dishonest", it is appropriate to use the word "collapse" to describe that presidency.

That is the current state of the Obama presidency. Read more...

The Executive Immigration Order That Breaks the Obama Presidency?

By Stanley Renshon, September 12, 2014

"The straw that broke the camel's back". Definition: "The last little burden or problem that causes everything to collapse."

There have been so many avoidable domestic and international missteps in the Obama presidency that is it is hard to single out one and say: That did him in!

There is, at the core, the most profound mismatch between the president's ambitions and the preferences of ordinary Americans. They want reform; he wants transformation. Read more...

President Obama's Self-Imposed Immigration Dilemmas, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, September 11, 2014

The truth of presidential intelligence is that, ultimately, smart is what smart does, not what smart could do but doesn't. Calling attention to your intelligence by using such self-congratulatory terms as "smart diplomacy" to describe your policies does not make them so. Nor does the admonition "don't do stupid stuff" make you immune from doing just that. Read more...

President Obama's Self-Imposed Immigration Dilemmas, Pt. 1

By Stanley Renshon, September 10, 2014

It is an article of faith and certainty among liberals that the Barack Obama is "the smartest guy ever to become president." Less well know is that this view, "that Obama is one of our smartest presidents," has also found a foothold among some thoughtful informed scholars on the right, like Max Boot.

There is no doubt that the President Obama is smart in the conventional understanding of that term. He is able to engage the factual and conceptual complexities of the issues that the country faces. He is able to grasp the alternative formulations of a problem and their implications. And, he can as well, be an articulate spokesman for the policies he prefers.

Regrettably, while being "smart" is an important and useful attribute for any president, it is not the same as being effective, successful, or having good judgment. Read more...

Another Case of Immigration Self-Sabotage by "the Smartest Guy Ever to Become President"?

By Stanley Renshon, September 9, 2014

The president's decision to delay his potentially (and most likely) sweeping executive immigration action until after the November elections must seem quite clever, as well as necessary, for the White House. After all, a sweeping immigration executive action would doubtlessly embroil the country in a heated debate about its legitimacy and the president's domestic leadership strategies just before Americans are set to go to the polls with the Democrats' Senate majority in peril.

Why take the chance? Read more...

President Obama's Thoroughly Tawdry Executive Action Delay on Immigration

By Stanley Renshon, September 8, 2014

Well, its official.

Cueing up speculation, anticipation, and expectation, the president announced to reporters at the end of his recent NATO summit that he had received recommendations on his immigration executive order from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice and that, "I suspect that on my flight back, this'll be part of my reading, taking a look at some of the specifics that we've looked at. And I'll be making an announcement soon."

That followed a June 30 Rose Garden appearance in which the president vowed "to issue broad directives to overhaul the immigration system soon after summer's end."

No he won't. Read more...

A Gratuitous Insult from the Mexican President

By Stanley Renshon, September 2, 2014

Ordinarily when a foreign leader visits the United States you can expect platitudes, not insults. Yet insults are what Americans got when Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto recently visited California.

The young (48) president, with what one biography touts as "movie-star good looks", was on his first state visit to the United States since being sworn in as president of Mexico two years ago. His first and only stop was described, with no irony intended, as the "immigrant-friendly [state of] California", where he held meetings with the state's Democratic governor, Jerry Brown. Read more...

The Bedrock of Ordinary Americans' Immigration Views: Future Immigration Levels, Pt. 4

By Stanley Renshon, August 29, 2014

Trying to answer the question: What would Americans think about future of levels of immigration if they were given different kinds of information, researchers conducted an experiment. They gave a portion of their larger survey samples (1) no new information — that was the control condition; (2) information about the estimates of current numbers of both legal immigrants and illegal immigrants; and (3) these estimates of legal immigrants and illegal migrants coupled with the information that about 40 percent of both groups living in America were from Spanish-speaking backgrounds. Read more...

The Bedrock of Ordinary Americans' Immigration Views-Future Immigration Levels, Pt. 3

By Stanley Renshon, August 25, 2014

Trying to ascertain Americans' preferences for future immigration levels when they were given information that might stimulate them to feel threatened or xenophobic, researchers asked three versions on the question future levels question (p.16): Read more...

The Bedrock of Ordinary Americans' Immigration Views: Future Immigration Levels, Pt. 2

By Stanley Renshon, August 22, 2014

Americans have consistently said that they want immigration levels to "remain the same" or be decreased. Many so-called immigration "reformers" have simply ignored them.

As a result, one of the most egregious elements of the Senate's 2013 bill was that it would have enormously increased the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States. Just how many new legal immigrants would have been allowed in is a matter of debate, but by any fair look, the numbers would be substantial — at least double and most likely more. Read more...

The Bedrock of Ordinary Americans' Immigration View: Future Immigration Levels

By Stanley Renshon, August 20, 2014

In the last few entries, we have been exploring the fact that ordinary Americans hold basic, bedrock views on several subjects that that are cornerstones of the immigration debate – their views on the impact of large-scale immigration, as reflected in the numbers of the foreign-born in the population, and their views on illegal immigration.

The vehicle of our examination has been a large, sophisticated immigration survey, with an experiment design component embedded within it (for the experimental parts, different groups within the larger sample are given different question and the results compared), conducted by two very reputable political scientists. Read more...