2006 May 03 Wednesday
Majority Of American Public Are Immigration Restrictionists

Think this blog represents a fringe strain of American political thought? I'm only fringe by the standards of inside the Beltway, in executive suites which want cheap labor, in academia, and in the liberal media. When compared to the vast majority of the American public I'm pretty mainstream. The Center for Immigration Studies reports on a new poll of American public attitudes toward immigration.

WASHINGTON (May 3, 2006) – A new Zogby poll of likely voters, using neutral language (see wording on following pages), finds that Americans prefer the House of Representatives’ enforcement-only bill by 2-1 over Senate proposals to legalize illegal immigrants and greatly increase legal immigration. The poll was conducted for the Center for Immigration Studies.

Check out some highlights from this poll.

  • On immigration generally, Americans want less, not more, immigration. Only 26 percent said immigrants were assimilating fine and that immigration should continue at current levels, compared to 67 percent who said immigration should be reduced so we can assimilate those already here.
  • While the Senate is considering various bills that would increase legal immigration from 1 million to 2 million a year, 2 percent of Americans believe current immigration is too low. This was true for virtually every grouping in the survey by ethnicity, income, age, religion, region, party, or ideology.
  • When offered by itself, there is strong support for the House bill: 69 percent said it was a good or very good idea when told it tries to make illegals go home by fortifying the border, forcing employer verification, and encouraging greater cooperation with local law enforcement while not increasing legal immigration; 27 percent said it was a bad or very bad idea.
  • Support for the House approach was widespread, with 81 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents, 57 percent of Democrats, and 53 percent of Hispanics saying it was good or very good idea.
  • When offered by itself, there is also some support for the Senate approach, thought not as much as for the House bill: 42 percent said the Senate approach was a good or very good idea when told it would allow illegal immigrants to apply for legal status provided they met certain criteria, and it would significantly increase legal immigration and increase enforcement of immigration laws; 50 percent said it was a bad or very bad idea.
  • There were few groups in which a majority supported the Senate plan, even when presented by itself, exceptions included Hispanics 62 percent of whom said it was a good or very good idea and the most liberal voters (progressives) 54 percent of whom approved of it.
  • When given three choices (House approach, Senate approach, or mass deportation), the public tends to reject both the Senate plan and a policy of mass deportations in favor of the House bill; 28 percent want the Senate plan, 12 percent want mass deportations; while 56 percent want the House approach.
  • But when given a choice between just the House and Senate approaches, without the choice of mass deportations, the public prefers the House approach 64 percent version to 30 percent.
  • One reason the public does not like legalizations is that they are skeptical of need for illegal-immigrant labor. An overwhelming majority of 74 percent said there are plenty of Americans to fill low-wage jobs if employers pay more and treat workers better; just 15 percent said there are not enough Americans for such jobs.
  • Another reason the public does not like Senate proposals to legalize illegals and double legal immigration is that 73 percent said they had little or no confidence in the ability of the government to screen these additional applicants to weed out terrorists and criminals.
  • Public also does not buy the argument we have tried and failed to enforce the law: 70 percent felt that past enforcement efforts have been "grossly inadequate," while only 19 percent felt we had made a "real effort" to enforce our laws.

Click through and check out the results by racial groups, religious groups (the Jews are of course the biggest Open Borders supporters), political affiliation, and income. The higher income people are more in favor of Open Borders. Part of that is a result of higher IQ Jews being higher income than the average. But there's also the economic interest of other upper class people in cheap gardeners, cheap maids, and the like. Lower class people can't afford to hire manual laborers and correctly see immigrant laborers as competition that drives down wages.

More than any other issue immigration shows the gap between the elites and the government on one side and the populace on the other side. The extent to which the government resists following the majority of the American people on immigration is a measure of just how powerful business and intellectual elites are in American politics.

Another point: on immigration el Presidente Jorge W. Bush is quite willing to defy the wishes of 81% of what conventional wisdom holds is his base. But clearly, in Jorge's mind Latin America is his base. Total nutcases can get elected President of the United States.

This report reminds me of another recent poll, this one in the UK, which found that the majority of the British people hold the same views on immigration as held by the supposedly extremist British National Party. The emergence of so-called extremists parties is a sign that the public is being ignored by the existing political parties. Will an anti-immigration nationalist party become a significant force in American politics in 2008?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 May 03 09:30 PM  Immigration Politics

Michael Greenspan said at May 3, 2006 10:40 PM:

I don't know whether I understand the "of course" in your comment that "the Jews are of course the biggest Open Borders supporters." Do you mean that Jews can be expected to favor open borders because we're 1) the highest-income group and 2) predominantly liberal?

Wolf-Dog said at May 3, 2006 10:40 PM:

"Will an anti-immigration nationalist party become a significant force in American politics in 2008?"


The answer to this question, will depend on the economic and geopolitical situation of the world at that time... There is a correlation between the state of the economy and the way the elections go. 2008 is not sufficiently distant for such an extreme transformation to take place, but this is very possible in the long run. For example, if there is an international financial crisis due to the current trade imbalances, and if this also causes a depression in the United States, resulting in 20 % unemployment and stagflation, then it is absolutely guaranteed that can there be a xenophobic nationalist government that will be not only anti-immigration, but extremely intrusive in the personal lives of every citizen. Personal freedom and culture, information, education, etc, would be highly regulated. If this option appears to be the lesser of two evils, then people will approve it. During the Great Depression there was a new inclination to limit immigration.

John S Bolton said at May 4, 2006 12:28 AM:

These are remarkable numbers, especially in the context of being at a cyclical high point; when one might expect more than 2% to believe immigration levels need to be increased. The other 98%, who don't favor an increase in immigration totals, are effectively disfranchised on this issue; by collusion of leftists and the playboys in charge of US business, who say apres moi, la deluge.
Sometimes it's the same people on both sides of the business/leftist collaboration.
Here's what I found on page 138 of Romerstein and Breindel's Venona Secrets:
"...an important KGB document in the Soviet archives..."
" In 1978, American Senator Edward Kennedy appealed to the KGB to assist in establishing cooperation between Soviet organizations and the California firm Agritech, headed by former Senator J. Tunney. This firm was in turn connected to a French-American company, Finatech S. A., which was run by a competent KGB source, the prominent western financier D. Karr, through whom opinions had been confidentially exchanged for several years between the General Secretary of the Communist Party and Sen. Kennedy."

Jorge D.C. said at May 4, 2006 12:33 AM:

Think this blog represents a fringe strain of American political thought? I'm only fringe by the standards of inside the Beltway...

Hey Webmaster: Consider keeping this statement permanently at the top of your website. It's powerful stuff that applies to many issues we are facing today.

Jorge D.C. said at May 4, 2006 12:46 AM:

Michael Greenspan said:

Do you mean that Jews can be expected to favor open borders because we're 1) the highest-income group and 2) predominantly liberal?

Check out Lawrence Auster's View From the Right web site and his analysis of this subject especially the comments on Dennis Prager's own list of reasons Jews as a group behave the way they do.

The Jewish tendency toward anti-nationalism is the issue.

Here is a link to the specific Dennis Prager piece with comments by Auster on the VFR website (one of many links at that site dealing with this issue).


John S Bolton said at May 4, 2006 1:04 AM:

More on the connections of those who set up immigration policy:
"The first Hiss trial was severely criticized by those who believed Hiss guilty. Even before the trial ended, the press learned that Kaufman had manipulated the calendar so that he could be made the judge in the case. Congressman Frank Keefe, a Republican from Wisconsin, placed in the Congressional Record of July 18, 1949, serious allegations of misconduct and corruption by Judge Kaufman, some directly linked to New York Congressman Emanuel Celler. Kaufman had allegedly received bribes on behalf of Celler from companies that wanted his influence with executive branch agencies."
P. 136 Venona Secrets
This is not to say that our immigration policies are the result of conspiracies, as by communists, corrupt businessmen, etc. It means that when the general public allows the important national security considerations, of what sort of people may immigrate, to fall into the hands of unclean ethnic politicians, completely ruthless leftists and others can exploit this.

D Flinchum said at May 4, 2006 5:29 AM:

"During the Great Depression there was a new inclination to limit immigration."

Actually the immigration restriction laws were passed in 1924. However, during the Great Depression there were (1) a lot fewer jobs and opportunities for both citizens and non-citizens and (2) there were at first no "Welfare State" programs that alleviated economic failure. I suspect all three of these things kept immigration - and, in the last two, native birth rates, for that matter - relatively low.

The Sixties brought us not only the relaxed immigration bill of 1965 but a wave of "Great Society" programs. If it is true that open immigration and a welfare state cannot exist together comfortably in a nation, then making the vast majority of immigration - both legal and illegal - favor the third-world AND having a huge family re-unification component as its center is inevitably a disaster. A brilliant scientist does not necessarily have a spouse, children, parents, siblings, and in-laws equally briliant and productive as (s)he is. Coming from a third-world country, some of these relatives may have few if any skills that the US would find useful, but they can end up here anyway via family re-unification. Chain migration needs serious reform on the legal immigration front.

Wolf-Dog said at May 4, 2006 3:33 PM:

"brilliant scientist does not necessarily have a spouse, children, parents, siblings, and in-laws equally briliant and productive as (s)he is."


A brilliant scientist may not have intelligent relatives, but this would be a statistical error, because genetics dictates that statistically there is a correlation between inteligence of a brilliant scientist and the average intelligence of his immediate relatives that are related to him or her by blood. For this reason, it is a good idea to change the immigration laws to give preference to those who have high IQ scores. (It is politically incorrect to use IQ scores, but SAT, GRE, or GPA (from a first rate university) happens to correlate with IQ.).

Additionally, most "brilliant scientist" type people don't have large families who would immigrate. (In any case the future immigration laws will reject even the relatives of US citizens unless they meet a high standard anyway.)

And finally most brilliant scientist type people do not come from Third World countries.

Randall Parker said at May 4, 2006 4:47 PM:

Michael Greenspan asks,

Do you mean that Jews can be expected to favor open borders because we're 1) the highest-income group and 2) predominantly liberal?

I did not intend to imply why Jews are this way. I was merely pointing out that Jews are the most enthusiastic supporters of Open Borders. This is not new news. They've been big proponents of easy immigration for a long time.

As for why Jews are the way they are: It is an important question because they are influential far in proportion of their numbers and they support a number of policies which are damaging to the United States. I certainly want to understand why they've supported very harmful ideas in the past or why they support such harmful ideas in the present. But I do not know for sure.

Some possible reasons why the majority of Jews take the Open Borders position on immigration:

1) They want to keep the door open for all groups in case Jews in other parts of the world ever have to flee situations that become dangerous for Jews. They are afraid of Arabs, neo-Nazis, etc. So they are willing to let in lots of damaging immigrants and harm the interests of the bulk of the American population on speculation that some day such a policy will benefit some Jews who live in other countries.

2) They fear white Christian populations and want to make them a minority in the United States. They fear a reprise of the Middle Ages. "The Inquisition, lets begin, the inquisition, look out sin..." (great movie btw).

3) They think that having Open Borders supports a universalist and secular society and that secularism is their friend. This is really a variation on number 2.

4) They've done such a great job of promoting the myth of the benefits of immigration (done for reason 1) that most of them now believe their own propaganda and to abandon the general form of the myth is painful because it is like rejecting one's religious faith. They've got to believe the falsehood because it has become a key part of their identity.

5) Their position on immigration is a side effect of their promotion of the "all races are equal" falsehood which they promoted as socialists, communists, and the other variants of Leftist thought.

But it is not clear to me what the relative weighting is of each of the above factors. Plus, even if some of these factors explain Jewish positions on immigration what causes these factors to weigh so heavily in Jewish minds and to do so at the expense of ignoring the empirical evidence?

Robert Hume said at May 4, 2006 5:00 PM:

But its important to realize that the poll:


although showing that Jews are much more pro-immigration than most Americans, also shows that there are substantial minorities of the Jews that take the restrictionists side on every issue. We should try to get these Jews to speak out as strongly as possible, and not to give up on the others, by confronting them with their errors as often as possible.

Michael Greenspan said at May 5, 2006 11:45 AM:

Jorge and Randall,

Thanks for those replies. I wish I knew why so many Jews are far-left, in the US and in Israel.

I don't want to derail the discussion, but this seems a level-headed group to ask: how "far in proportion of [our] numbers" do you think Jewish influence goes? We're about two percent of the US population. How much influence do you think we have?

Robert Hume said at May 5, 2006 4:06 PM:

Jewish influence depends on the issue. On policy toward Israel, 90%. On immigration, 80%. On health care, 50%. On defense in general, 25%. On the environment, 25%. On academic physics, 50%. On academic biology, 25%. On industry, 25%. On academic economics, 25%. In computers, 25%. On sports (other than the actual athletes), 25%. On gardening, 2%.

Randall Parker said at May 5, 2006 4:47 PM:

Robert Hume,

Yes, of course a substantial minority of Jews are reasonable on immigration. And, for the record and fwiw, I like Jews. I just wish they didn't take such damaging positions on several political topics that matter a great deal, immigration first and foremost.


As for the idea of how to measure Jewish influence quantitatively: Good question. I'm going to have to think about it. I can offer some observations:

1) Jewish influence is not equally strong on all subjects. For example, you won't find them in the trenches fighting about farm policy for example. Also, on some subjects they face more organized opposition than on other subjects.

2) Jews have their biggest influence on the Democratic Party. They are the biggest source of funding for it and I vaguely recall reading estimates that they might provide a third or a half of its funding. Can't remember where I saw those estimates.

We need some idea of how we want to measure influence. We could measure, say, what percentage of newspaper political columnists are Jewish. Or we could measure what percentage of newspaper or TV news editors are Jewish. Ditto college profs. But college profs at elite schools are more influential and a higher percentage of those are Jewish.

I wonder if there's some clever way to measure Jewish influence. I can see a few possible ways:

1) Look at issues where the gap between Jewish and non-Jewish views is large or small. Then measure how close government policies are to the preferences of the majority of the public versus to the majority of Jews. On issues where Jews disagree with the rest of the American populace who gets their way?

2) Watch Jewish views and non-Jewish views longitudinally and see if a Jewish shift toward some position presages a shift of non-Jewish views. But even if that was the case that doesn't mean that the shift in non-Jewish views was arranged by Jewish persuasion. Could be that smarter Jews just figure out things faster than the average person does. e.g. the Iraq invasion was a bad idea. Jews shifted toward that viewpoint faster the population at large did. I suspect that is because the average Jew is better read and smarter. They got and integrated the information faster.

3) Measure views of the public adjusted for IQ. Do WASPs of equal IQ to smart Jews have less luck at persuading their fellow WASPs of some viewpoint when Jews take an opposing position?

As for why Jews tend to be so left wing: I wonder if it is in part due to higher verbal IQ without a balancing higher non-verbal IQ. Maybe there's a tendency to use higher verbal IQ to persuade self and other of false beliefs which are not recognized as false due to a lack of matching spatial and pattern matching abilities? I do not know.

Bob Badour said at May 5, 2006 5:55 PM:


Doesn't it also make sense that an essentially tribal group would more naturally embrace collectivist politics?

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