Neither of those choices describes the position of anyone on either side of the immigration debate. Amnesty proponents have no intention of either securing the border or making illegals do anything to "earn" citizenship. Meanwhile, not a single amnesty opponent has proposed any program to "arrest and deport" illegals.
But amnesty proponents turn around and cite this fraudulent poll as proof that a majority of Americans support "a path to legalization."
This is how the left uses polls to manipulate public opinion, rather than find out what it is. They provide the ingredients for today's political discussion and we're not allowed to pick any items off the menu.
But can't I be against amnesty without voting for rounding up illegals at gunpoint?
No substitutions! Look at the menu.
All the "path to legalization" polls play the same trick. Either armed men round up millions of women and children at midnight, put them in leg irons and immediately deport them on stinky buses; or we offer them a "path to legalization" after meeting all sorts of onerous requirements (none of which will ever materialize).
There were loads of promises surrounding Ronald Reagan's 1986 amnesty, too -- such as securing the border, punishing employers who hire illegals and forcing illegals to pay back taxes. Sen. Teddy Kennedy vowed: "We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another amnesty bill like this." (Those were the good old days when they were willing to call it "amnesty.")
Obviously, that promise ended up in the same place Mary Jo Kopechne did -- underwater and unmentioned.
After the bill passed, then-Rep. Chuck Schumer (Gov. Chris Christie's current immigration adviser) immediately introduced a bill excusing illegal aliens from having to pay any back taxes at all.
Now, instead of 3 million illegal aliens living here, we have 11 million, salsa is the best-selling condiment in America, and I have to press "one" for English.
We already tried this the nice way. The country gets one mulligan, not two.
An honest poll question would ask:
Do you think people who have knowingly broken our laws to come here illegally with their families since the last amnesty should be rewarded with citizenship, or should they voluntarily go back the same way they came?
An even more honest immigration poll question would ask:
At a time of massive unemployment, do you think people who have knowingly broken our laws and come here illegally with their families since the last amnesty should be rewarded with citizenship, or should they voluntarily go back the same way they came?
Even a poll question that simply omits the lies about the theoretical hurdles illegals will have to clear (which will never happen) produces a poll in which a majority of Americans support "deportation."
Last year, the TechCrunch website polled this question: "Do you support or oppose deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.?"
Again: NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT DEPORTATION. We didn't round up 11 million foreigners to get them here, and we're not going to round them up to send them home. They'll leave the same way they came.
But even answering a stacked poll question asking about something no one has proposed -- deportation -- a majority of respondents, 53.4 percent, supported deportation, compared to 42 percent opposed. Among Republicans, 74.1 percent favored deportation, with only 22.3 percent opposed.
Not only that, but a Fox News poll last year showed that a majority of Americans would like to curtail legal immigration, with 55 percent supporting a decrease in legal immigrants and only 28 percent supporting an increase.
My thought is: Republicans should push policies that are popular.
But instead of proposing immigration reforms that are runaway hits with a majority of Americans -- without anyone even having made the argument! -- Republicans have been hoodwinked by Democrats into trying to outbid Democrats for the Hispanic vote. They still won't win the Hispanic vote, but now the rest of the country will hate Republicans, too.