Last week, the Center for Immigration Studies, which espouses conservative views on immigration, published a poll claiming that “Hispanic, Asian-American, and African-American likely voters” prefer “enforcement and for illegal immigrants to return home,” because they think “that the current level of immigration is too high.”
Soon enough, advocacy groups accused the right-wing organization of “cooking the books” and taking “desperate measures” to derail any attempt at immigration reform.
The CIS report seemed a direct stab at the pro-immigrant organizations. CIS’ Steven A. Camarota wrote that the findings showed that “in contrast to the leadership of many ethnic advocacy groups, most members of minority groups think immigration is too high.”
According to Camarota, 56 percent of Hispanics, 57 percent of Asian Americans and 68 percent of African Americans think immigration is too high.
The poll –conducted by Zogby International— also found that most minorities think that illegal immigration is spurred by “a lack of enforcement,” that “there are plenty of Americans available to fill unskilled jobs,” and most also support “enforcement that would cause illegal immigrants in the country to go home” rather than legalization.
This survey of minority voters shows that when it comes to the issue of legalizing illegal immigrants, these voters disagree with the leadership of many ethnic advocacy groups. Most voters want the law enforced and illegal immigrants to return to their home countries. Overall they also feel that the current level of immigration is too high.
But advocates rejected the poll as unscientific. “This latest effort to muddy the waters about public opinion on immigration ventures into the realm of the absurd,” wrote America’s Voice blogger Jackie Mahendra. She then added:
“…the questions in the CIS-sponsored Zogby poll are engineered to produce anti-immigration responses and rely solely on input from online respondents, rather than a random sample of the general population (i.e. a true random digit dial telephone poll).
“The findings are a dramatic departure from the results of numerous other (credible) polls of Latino voters.”
Others were equally vehement.
Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), issued a statement calling the CIS report “a hodgepodge of leading questions that distort reality.
“The CIS survey takes advantage of the current anxiety over our nation’s future and pits Americans versus immigrants who are here legally and illegally. What the survey fails to offer is real alternatives that have been shown to get bipartisan support in Congress, including a program that requires unauthorized immigrants to come forth, register, learn English, pay a fine, and pay taxes like everyone else.”
Clarissa Martínez De Castro, director of immigration and national campaigns at the National Council of La Raza, accused CIS executive director Mark Krikorian of relying on “junk science” on a post on The Huffington Post.
“What we know is that the Latino community supports a practical, real immigration reform solution that is in line with America’s values, and that gets unauthorized immigrants on the books and paying taxes, secures our borders, levels the playing field for all American workers, and goes a long way in reducing the hateful rhetoric that Krikorian and his organization clumsily blurt out.”