Friday, May 5, 2006

It was only a matter of time until the propaganda began: CIS poll runs contrary to all others.

On Thursday the Center for Immigration Studies released a new poll that showed the majority of American people favored the Houses enforcement-only stance on immigration. The press immediately picked up the story and speculated that this “sudden shift” in sentiment was due to a backlash against the recent immigrants rights rallies.

With the recent increased public awareness of the immigration reform issue, polls taken over the past month have consistently shown a large majority of the American people, although favoring tighter control of the borders, prefer a comprehensive approach to immigration reform. One that provides a path towards eventual citizenship for the twelve million undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States.

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More than three-quarters of Americans favor allowing illegal immigrants who have spent many years in the United States to apply for citizenship, according to a poll conducted for CNN by Opinion Research Corp.

In the poll, released Tuesday, 77 percent of those responding favored allowing illegal immigrants who have been in United States for more than five years to stay and apply for citizenship if they have a job, and pay a fine and back taxes. Twenty percent said they opposed such a measure.

A majority opposed a proposal to allow iIlegal immigrants who have been in the United States for two to five years to stay on a temporary basis, without a chance to apply for U.S. citizenship. Fifty-four percent opposed that measure, and 40 percent favored it.

A proposal to deport illegal immigrants in the United States for less than two years was favored by 64 percent and opposed by 31 percent.

CNN 3/27

Most Americans – 74% - think illegal immigrants in the U.S. should be able stay and work in this country if the following criteria are met: they pay a fine, they’ve been in the U.S. for at least five years, paid any back taxes owed, can speak English, and have no criminal record. Those criteria match those in the Senate compromise bill that was shelved last week.

CBS 3-10

More than one-half of those questioned are open to allowing undocumented workers to obtain some temporary legal status so they can stay in the United States.

At the same time, people doubt that erecting a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border could help to fix such a complex and enduring problem, an AP-Ipsos poll found. Two-thirds do not think it would work.

‘‘You can’t go and round up 11 million people and ship them out of the country,’’ said Robert Kelly. The Chicago lawyer is among the 56 percent of Americans who favor offering some kind of legal status. ‘‘It just isn’t practical,’’ he said.

Two-thirds of those surveyed think illegal immigrants fill jobs that most Americans do not want, the poll found.

AP/Ipsos 4-3

NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted April 21-24, in which 61 percent favored letting illegal immigrants stay if they pass a security check, pay taxes and meet other conditions similar to those listed in the pending Senate bill.
NBC/Wall Street Journal 3-24

Yet despite what these polls and scores of other taken recently tell us, yesterday the Center for Immigration Studies released a poll that runs contrary to all the others. The Zogby poll, sponsored by CIS seems to paint a polar opposite picture of the American people’s views on the issue. The poll was has been quickly picked up by the press and presented as evidence that there has been a “backlash” to the recent rallies and the American people have had a change of heart. (this despite the fact that the poll was taken prior to May 1st rallies and at the same time as many of the same news agencies own contradictory polls)

Likely voters prefer enforcement, new poll says

Likely American voters, by a wide margin, prefer a plan to get tough on illegal immigrants over one that would put them on a path to citizenship, according to a new poll released Wednesday, which contradicts several other recent surveys.

The poll, taken in the second half of April by Zogby America for the Center for Immigration Studies, found that 69 percent of Americans favor a bill passed by the House of Representatives that would fortify the border, force businesses to verify that workers are legal and allow greater cooperation on immigration from local law enforcement.

By contrast, 43 percent favored a plan being debated in the Senate that would allow the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who are already here to apply for citizenship. It also would double the number of future green cards -- permits to live in the United States permanently and apply for citizenship -- and it would admit an additional 400,000 foreign workers each year.

San Francisco Chronicle

So how could this one poll, among scores of others, come to such a different conclusion?

Before looking at the wording and methodology used, a quick look at exactly who and what the Center for Immigration Reform is might shed some light on the picture:

CIS describes itself as “independent” and “nonpartisan,” but its studies, reports, and media releases consistently support its restrictionist agenda and works closely on Capitol Hill with Republican Party immigration restrictionists. However, CIS has achieved credibility with the media and in think tank circles because of its lack of the kind of strident anti-immigrant rhetoric associated with many restrictionist groups, its willingness to invite pro-immigrant voices to its forums, and the scholarly format of its reports.

The Center for Immigration Studies was founded in 1985 as a spin-off of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Another FAIR spin-off is the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which functions as the litigation arm of FAIR, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (1)

Early funding for CIS was channeled through U.S. Inc, a nonprofit established and still directed by John Tanton, who was one of the cofounders of the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Among the right-wing foundations that fund CIS are Sarah Scaife Foundation, John M. Olin Foundation, Jaqueline Hume Foundation, Carthage Foundation, and Scaife Family Foundation.

John Tanton is widely recognized as the leading figure in the anti-immigration and "official English" movements in the United States. Initially, Tanton's public policy advocacy work was driven by his commitment to zero population growth and environmental conservation. By the late 1970s, however, this concern about the environment and population growth evolved into a crusade against immigration flows into the United States, particularly from Latin American and Caribbean nations

Along with a few other FAIR board members, in the early 1980s Tanton founded a nationalist organization called WITAN-short for the Old English term "witenagemot," meaning "council of wise men." In 1986, Tanton signed a memo that went to WITAN members that highlighted the supremacist bent of Tanton and FAIR. The memo charged that Latin American immigrants brought a culture of political corruption with them to the United States and that they were unlikely to involve themselves in civil life. He raised the alarm that they could become the majority group in U.S. society. What's more, he asked: "Can homo contraceptivus compete with homo progenitiva?" Answering his own rhetorical question, Tanton wrote that "perhaps this is the first instance in which those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down!" According to Tanton, "In California 2030, the non-Hispanic Whites and Asians will own the property, have the good jobs and education, speak one language and be mostly Protestant and 'other.' The Blacks and Hispanics will have the poor jobs, will lack education, own little property, speak another language and will be mainly Catholic." Furthermore, Tanton raised concerns about the "educability" of Hispanics. (2)

(1) RightWeb profile of CIS

(2) RightWeb profile of John Tanton

Raising a family and practicing medicine in Petoskey, Mich., Tanton started out as a passionate environmentalist. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he was a leader in the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club and other mainstream environmental groups.

But Tanton soon became fixated on population control, seeing environmental degradation as the inevitable result of overpopulation.

When the indigenous birth rate fell below replacement level in the United States, his preoccupation turned to immigration. And this soon led him to race.

Tanton had something akin to a conversion when he came across The Camp of the Saints, a lurid, racist novel written by Frenchman Jean Raspail that depicts an invasion of the white, Western world by a fleet of starving, dark-skinned refugees.
Tanton helped get the novel published in English and soon was promoting what he considered the book's prophetic argument.

"Their [Third World] 'huddled masses' cast longing eyes on the apparent riches of the industrial west," Tanton wrote in 1975. "The developed countries lie directly in the path of a great storm."

And so he began to develop a counter-force. After 1979, when he co-founded FAIR, Tanton launched "a whole array of organizations that serve the overall ideological and political battle plan to halt immigration — even if those groups have somewhat differing politics," explained Rick Swartz, the pro-immigration activist who founded the National Immigration Forum in 1982.

Southern Poverty Law Center, Intelligence Report; The Pupeteer

John Tanton's Network

The organized anti-immigration "movement" is almost entirely the handiwork of one man, Michigan activist John H. Tanton.

Here is a list of 13 groups in the loose-knit Tanton network, followed by acronyms if the groups use them, founding dates, and Tanton's role in the groups.

Those organizations designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center are marked with an asterisk (*).

In this list, "founded" means a group was founded or co-founded by John Tanton. "Funded" means that U.S. Inc., the funding conduit created and still headed by Tanton, has made grants to the group.

*American Immigration Control Foundation
AICF, 1983, funded

*American Patrol/Voice of Citizens Together
1992, funded

California Coalition for Immigration Reform
CCIR, 1994, funded

Californians for Population Stabilization
1996, funded (founded separately in 1986)

Center for Immigration Studies
CIS, 1985, founded and funded

Federation for American Immigration Reform
FAIR, 1979, founded and funded

1996, founded and funded

Population-Environment Balance
1973, joined board in 1980

Pro English
1994, founded and funded

1999, funded

*The Social Contract Press
1990, founded and funded

U.S. English
1983, founded and funded

U.S. Inc.
1982, founded and funded

Southern Poverty Law Center

It’s quite evident given these facts the CIS is an agenda driven organization, but that doesn’t necessarily discredit this current poll. But a quick look at some of the wording of the polls questions and anomalies in its findings do bring doubt unto its validity.

“The House of Representatives has passed a bill that tries to make illegal immigrants go home and reduce future illegal immigration mainly by fortifying the border, forcing businesses to verify that workers are legally in the country and allowing greater cooperation from local law enforcement. It does not increase the number of people allowed into the country legally. Do you think this bill is:”
Good or very good idea 69%, bad or very bad 27%, not sure 4%.

“The Senate is considering a bill that would allow 12 million illegal immigrants here to apply for green cards, which allows permanent residence and citizenship, after background check and payment of back taxes. In addition, the bill would double the number of green cards in the future from 1 to 2 million a year. It would also allow an additional 400,000 foreign workers each year, who could also apply for green cards. The bill increases the enforcement of immigration laws. Do you think this bill is:
Good or very good 43%, bad or very bad 50%, not sure 7%.”

When deportation as added to the mix the breakdown went :
House Bill 56% , mass deportations and roundups 12%, Senate Bill 28%


The questions are masterfully crafted lies of omission. In the first question referring the House Bill there is no mention made of exactly how the bill suggests to "try to make illegal immigrants go home" which of course is to make them felons, arrest them and eventually deport them. But as we see, only twelve percent of the respondents favored deportation so that aspect is omitted in the question.

The rest of question one goes on to list a series of border tightening and employer verification measures, as if they are the hallmark of this bill only. Yet the second question referring to the Senate bill only in passing states "The bill increases the enforcement of immigration laws" when in fact it stipulates many of the the very same measures used to "sell" the House bill in the first question.

Lastly there is the stress in the second question put on the Senates plan to increased number of green cards to be issued as opposed to the Houses bill which "does not increase the number of people allowed into the country legally". But it is for good reason the House bill makes no mention of increased green cards, it's sole purpose was to "secure the border".

The House didn't address the issue of how immigration should be handled in the future. They addressed no real reform issues, no changes to the system, no provisions for future immigration, only stricter and more punitive enforcement to prevent illegal immigration. The whole issue of legal immigration was ignored.

The question does not present two alternatives plans for the future but rather one plan versus nothing. Additionally the Senate plan has no firm numbers for future immigration as the number would be determined by a sliding scale of the number of work visas and green cards issued each year measured as a percentage against the number issued the year before. For the poll to state that one million additional green cards would be issued is baseless.

As with all polling, the devil is always in the details. We've seen it a million times before, "likely voters" vs. "registered voters" etc., but in the case of this poll, given it's source, one must concluded that the crafting of the questions was intentional to receive the desired results.

The timing of it's release should not be lost on anyone either, coming just days after the May 1 rallies.

Polls done during the same period were all released prior to May 1, but this one comes just in time for CIS to claim there's a growing backlash against the immigrants rights movement, hoping all along that the American people will begin to change their thinking to more closely resemble that shown in their flawed poll.

It was only a matter of time before John Tanton's propaganda machine got into full swing with it's campaign of misinformation.


XicanoPwr said...

And it had to come out on Cinco de Mayo. Go figure. Time to spreading the message again.

Duke1676 said...

I saw Anderson Cooper yesterday spouting on about this... I new it sounded fishy then, I just didn't know then how fishy it really was.

DuctapeFatwa said...

All day, MSNBC had an online poll question to the effect of should the protestors be arrested.

The yes votes hovered at 67-68% all day, and this figure was on the screen all day at least every 15 minutes.

Texan said...

The polls you are quoting at the beginning of this post are stating that Americans are in favor of providing the illegal immigrants who are already here with a path to citizenship. These poll results should not be surprising. It would be monstrous to attempt to deport 12 million people. So what else can you do with them? Obvious: give them a path to citizenship. You go on to say that the poll cited by CIS is contrary to all other polls.

Is it? Are you sure?

First I would ask about the polls you cited as favoring legalization. Did any of those polls ask people if border control should be tightened? Did any of those polls ask if we should toughen up on FUTURE illegal immigration? (If they did, why aren't the results of those questions discussed here?)

The CIS poll cited seems to ask which of two plans is better: the House bill or the Senate debate. We know the house bill doesn't address legalization. As far as I know the Senate debate does not address enforcement issues. I would suggest that both plans (Senate and House) are fundamentally flawed.

The poll cited by CIS then boils down to a question of which is the lesser of two evils. It is entirely possible that these two sets of polls are NOT contradictory. Perhaps Americans want to provide a path to citizenship for the immigrants who are already here AND they want enforcement to improve to stop the number of illegal immigrants from skyrocketing.

You are attempting to discredit the CIS by saying they have an agenda. After reviewing posts on this blog, I'd say there is quite a strong agenda here as well. I do not see balanced for/against debate in this blog. I do not see a lot of hard data. What I do see in this blog is a lot of highly emotionally-charged rhetoric, clearly geared toward the cause of the illegal immigrant.

I don't fault anyone for taking a position, for taking a stance. This is a highly controversial issue, and the stakes are quite high. If nobody takes a stance, the reality will be decided haphazardly, without thought and perhaps with dire consequences. If I want opposing or objective viewpoints, I can look elsewhere.

I took a brief look at the CIS information. There is an ENORMOUS amount of hard data here. If the researchers appear agenda-driven, perhaps it's because the proponderance of the data in their findings pointed to conclusions.

I personally welcome good sound arguments for both positions. So far, I've found loads of hard data in favor of enforcing FUTURE illegal immigration. I've found loads of data showing the economic burden of having millions of illegal immigrants on welfare programs and receiving free educations and health services.

On the other end of the spectrum (open our borders and legalize all immigrants), most of what I've heard are value judgements and opinion-based statements. Like, "nobody wants the jobs they are doing" and "we are a country of immigrants".

What would happen to these value statements if a billion people came over from various villages in Asia? Yeah, that's an extreme and outrageous question. And maybe somebody would pull the racist card on that question (as they always do). But this otherwise outrageous question raises awareness of something: there comes a point when too much immigration is not a good thing.

And when do we reach that point? Hard to say. But for sure we should keep our eyes open and our minds objective. We need more than value judgements and rhetoric and claims of racism. We need good objective reasoning on these important issues.

Duke1676 said...

I do not see a lot of hard data. What I do see in this blog is a lot of highly emotionally-charged rhetoric, clearly geared toward the cause of the illegal immigrant.

There are well over 100 posts on this blog, many dealing with studies, polls, statistics and various other forms of "hard data"

additionaly in the side bar are sections for research and resources with links to many studies and reports and analysis.

CIS and the rest of the Tanton empire try very hard to appear as credible sources, they use a lot of statistics and other "facts" to attempt to back their position, and at first glance they appear quite compelling. But when thoroughly analized they are very misleading and often scewed to support their positions.

As to your claim of a lack of ballance here at Migra Matters, we make no claim to being "fair and ballanced". We are a progressive site dedicated to countering the misinformation, hypocrisy, and propaganda of those who oppose a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration policies. We feel that there are more than enough voices spreading the anti-immigration agenda, from Dobbs and the rest of the MSM to CIS and FAIR, to the minutemen and Tancredo. They need no help from us to give voice to their propaganda.

Our mission is to try to promote a dialouge about how to formulated an immigration policy that not only provides security but is fair, humane, and practical. When those oppossed to a practical, comprehensive solution begin to move from their "blame the illegal" enforcement only agenda, then perhaps there will be room for opposing voices on this site ... but until then we will continue on our current path.

the economic burden of having millions of illegal immigrants on welfare programs

and just a quick note; despite what CIS and FAIR say, under our current laws "illegal Immigrants" do not qualify, nor do they receive any "welfare" programs. (in fact "welfare" as it was known for 30 years no longer exists. Clinton abolished it. So this notion that immigrants arrive here and immediately sign up for their monthly "welfare checks" is pure right-wing propaganda)

They do put stress on the healthcare system due to their lack of health insurance...but so do the other 50 million uninsured US citizens. Perhaps instead of blaming Immigrants for a failing healthcare system we should look to the real causes for it's inability to serve the Americam people. (just look at infant mortality rate for the US ... it's the second highest in the civilized world... not exactly a problem caused by immigrants)