Poll: Americans Frustrated With Immigration Crisis

By: Joe Murray, The Bulletin

A recent poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports, one of America's leading polling agencies, shows that Americans are frustrated with the illegal immigration crisis and are in favor a strong federal policy that secures America's southwestern border and makes illegal immigration more difficult.

According to the Aug. 18 poll, Americans, by a margin 56-31 percent, want the federal government to continue building a fence along the Mexican border. Last summer, Congress passed, and the president signed, a bill that required the federal government to construct an 854-mile-long security fence. To date, only 13.4 miles of that fence has been completed.

Americans also have disdain for sanctuary cities, which offer protection to immigrants in the U.S. illegally. By a margin of 58-29 percent, Americans favor cutting off federal funds to sanctuary cities.

The poll also discovered that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of a national identification card program "for all foreign workers and students in the United States." Seventy-one percent of Americans voiced support for the program, while only 16 percent responded that they oppose.
Support for such an identification card is not surprising, as an Aug. 12 Rasmussen poll found that 79 percent of American adults "favor a proposal requiring employers to fire workers who falsely identity documents," while only 9 percent oppose. Seventy-four percent believe that landlords should be allowed to require prospective tenants to provide documentation proving they are in the country legally. Seventeen percent feel no such documentation is necessary.

In response to the poll, Bob Dane, communications director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), noted, "The polls are now offering more specific questions with more reasonable solutions."
Dane noted that a few years back, the poll questions were "politically charged" and usually presented the immigration issues in the extreme, i.e., mass deportation or amnesty.

"Immigration used to be an issue that was in someone else's backyard, and now it has become one that is in my backyard, and people are responding to this crisis," Dane added.

Earlier this summer the Bush administration angered a number of conservatives when they actively supported the Kennedy-McCain immigration bill, a bill that granted instant legal status to the 12-15 million illegal aliens already in the United States. Rasmussen found that only 22 percent of Americans supported the bill.

It died in the Senate.

Then in July, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled that the town of Hazleton had violated the Constitution when the town passed measures that punished employers and landlords for employing/renting to illegal aliens.
The Aug. 18 poll showed that 75 percent of Republican voters want the federal government to build the fence along the Mexican border, while 73 percent favor cutting federal funds to sanctuary cities and 81 percent favor an identification card for foreigners. Such numbers have not been lost on the GOP presidential hopefuls and the immigration issue has dominated the headlines.

Earlier this week, GOP frontrunners Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani traded barbs over immigration. Romney first attacked Giuliani by stating the former New York City mayor presided over one of America's largest sanctuary cities. As mayor, Giuliani continued the policy of his predecessor, Democratic Mayor Ed Koch, which prohibited city officials from sharing the immigration status of an illegal immigrant unless there was evidence of a crime.

Giuliani fired back by arguing that when Romney was governor of Massachusetts he permitted two cities, Cambridge and Somerville, to offer the same protection to illegal immigrants that New York City did.

While GOP frontrunners scatter to adjust their immigration policy to reflect the polling data, one candidate, Arizona Sen. John McCain, stuck to his guns in regards to the Senate's amnesty bill, and such a decision caused the senator to plummet in the polls to single digits or the low teens.

But nowhere has the issue of immigration been more influential than in the second tier of Republican presidential candidates. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo made a name for himself as a staunch defender of America's border and has taken the message on the road to the White House.

Tancredo's tough immigration message has caused the Congressman to explode from just 1 percent of the Iowa vote to 14 percent of the vote at the Aug. 11 Iowa Straw Poll. Tancredo now is polling between 5-7 percent and is seeing campaign growth.

Other candidates, such as California Congressman Duncan Hunter, have also been bringing the immigration message to the American people. Last week, Hunter told a Las Vegas, Nev., crowd that he does not understand why it is taking so long to build the border security fence the president signed into law.

"It is just a fence. ... You line it out and build it all concurrently," Hunter said. He also acknowledged that the people he meets on the campaign trail are frustrated by the government's inaction over illegal immigration.

Joe Murray can be reached at jmurray@thebulletin.us.

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