New Poll: Enforcement Types Aren't all Xenophobes!

By David Seminara on July 1, 2016

In the wake of the UK's Brexit vote and amidst the onslaught of Trump-related immigration stories in the press, I'm ready for a long summer break from the news. I normally listen to NPR for at least an hour per day, read a newspaper or two, and troll Twitter for more time than I care to admit to consume even more news. But this routine has become untenable.

My sons gave me a record player for Father's Day, and I've been using it a lot lately because I cannot stand to hear or read one more story asserting that Americans and Brits who believe in the rule of law and want some form of immigration enforcement are racists, xenophobes, soccer hooligans, Nazis attempting to relive Kristallnacht and so on.

As a left-leaning independent who favors a humane but fairly strict rule-of-law approach to immigration, I'm disgusted by the fact that there are real racists and xenophobes who are using the immigration issue to vent their hatred and bigotry. These dirt bags undermine the cause to regain control of our borders by giving the media and the pundits a convenient narrative: You either support open borders or you're a xenophobe.

This notion that everyone who doesn't support wide-open borders has a copy of Mein Kampf stowed away under their pillow is preposterous. But just as frustrating as the open-borders crowd getting away with these broad smears is that they're never asked to clarify exactly what they stand for.

They don't want a wall. They don't want immigrants "rounded up" (a key phrase because it connotes Wild West justice). But do they favor letting in say three million immigrants per year instead of the 1.5 million we've averaged recently? Is the person who favors three million per year twice as enlightened and half as xenophobic as one who favors 1.5? Few, and certainly not crafty politicians like Hillary Clinton, will tell us exactly how much immigration they want, who they'd keep out, and so on. Instead, we just get sound bites about what a bunch of bigots we are if we don't toe the line.

Amidst all this recent demonization of those, like me, who favor the rule-of-law approach to borders comes this new Rasmussen poll, which very soundly undermines the "enforcement = xenophobia" argument. It's a poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters, taken this week, and comprised of 36 percent Democrats, 33 percent Republicans, and 31 percent independents. Respondents rejected the president's executive amnesty 54 percent to 38 percent and said no to birthright citizenship by 50 percent to 41 percent. Fifty-seven percent said that the government isn't aggressive enough in deporting illegal immigrants, while just 11 percent believe the government is too aggressive in its deportation approach (23 percent favor the current level of enforcement).

I got the detailed cross-tabs on this poll from Rasmussen and they are even more interesting. Rasmussen lumped Hispanics, Asians, and anyone else who isn't white or black into an "other" demographic category. (These respondents made up 16 percent of their survey pool). Fifty-four percent of this non-white, non-black group opposed the president's amnesty, which is the same percentage as the total. And 61 percent of this non-white, non-black group said that the government isn't aggressive enough in deporting illegal immigrants, while just 16 percent said the government's approach was too aggressive.

Dismiss this poll if you like, but the truth is hard to deny: Plenty of ordinary people who don't have a racist bone in their bodies support a rule-of-law approach rather than a Wild West, whoever-comes-can-stay approach. Elites can try to guilt the public into supporting open borders by smearing anyone who disagrees with them, but this approach will backfire.