Immigration: Poll Results are Disappointing

Arizona state senator Russell Pearce sponsored the infamous immigration bill, which has been the subject of debate and news coverage around the country. The bill allows police officers, “when practicable,” to stop people they suspect are in the country illegally and the bill states that if someone is stopped and they are not carrying their immigration papers, it is a state crime.
A recent survey of Metropolitan Atlanta voters revealed that a majority support an Arizona style immigration law and amending the United States constitution to take away birthright citizenship. According to a 20/20 Insight poll commissioned by Blogging While Blue, 54% of metropolitan Atlanta voters believe that Georgia should pass laws giving police the authority to check detainees immigration status if there is probable cause that the detainee is an illegal resident. Similarly, 53% of these same voters believe that the constitution should be amended to remove the provision that any child born on US soil becomes a citizen even if their parents are not.

While 58% of African Americans are opposed to the Arizona copycat law, only 46% of African American voters support keeping the birthright provision in the constitution. So the data suggests that African Americans are more likely to support taking away a child’s birthright but are strongly opposed to any Arizona type law than is akin to racial profiling. Some African Americans may believe that the Arizona law will lead to racial profiling, which is something many of them have experienced and view it as unfair and unacceptable. Since the history of African Americans in this country to achieve equal rights is well documented, many also may feel that the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants is much easier then the road their ancestors had to travel.
What is even more interesting is that Whites, Republicans, and conservative voters overwhelming support the Arizona copycat law, but are less supportive of amending the United States Constitution. Specifically, 94% of Republicans support the Arizona style law, while only 75% support amending the constitution. The results for Republicans and conservatives show the same trend. We seriously doubt this is because they feel compassion for illegal immigrants, but rather because they think amending the Constitution may be too extreme under these circumstances. Overall, voters appear to be very concerned about illegal immigrants and would approve of policies aimed at limiting their rights and the number permitted to live in this country without documentation.
We at Blogging While Blue support federal immigration policy that recognizes the many contributions of immigrants to this country. We also find it unconscionable that racial profiling could be legislated state-by-state. We do not support amending the birthright provision of the United States Constitution to punish the children of illegal immigrants. The Civil Rights Movement was about equal rights and inclusion for all races, not just African Americans. Many illegal immigrants come to this country from places where opportunities are scarce and equality is non-existence. While African Americans have seen progress in this country, the laws of Jim Crow and desegregation made them immigrants in their own country. This kinship of unwanted citizenship is familiar for many African Americans who remember the place where not too long ago, “opportunities were scare and equality was non-existent.”

Click here for crosstabs and methodology

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