2014-07-14

Immigration Issue Set to Explode in America; Prepare for Political Volatility

Among Western nations, the U.S. has been an outlier on immigration for many years now. Several European nations along with Australia have moved to restrict immigration in ways that would be dubbed extremist in the American political debate. Earlier this year though, UKIP showed how quickly political debate on an issue can change when it is far out of line with the public opinion and social mood.

UKIP's reason for existence was to get the United Kingdom out of the EU. There are many issues that fall under the control of Brussels, such as economic regulations, but the big issue that voters wanted to hear about was immigration. UKIP realized immigration was the big issue and it focused on that issue, turning it into a shock electoral victory.

A similar shift could be ready to unfold in the United States. Opinion on immigration is difficult to gauge because wording is often fuzzy and left open to interpretation. For example, in the U.S. polls often ask "Are you in favor of immigration reform?" In the mind of a voter, immigration reform could range from amnesty for illegals, to deporting even legal immigrants who may have committed crimes or gone on welfare. When poll questions ask clearer questions, some opposition to immigration usually turns up.

Religious Leaders vs. Members: An Examination of Contrasting Views on Immigration
Most members of religious denominations do not feel that illegal immigration is caused by limits on legal immigration, as many religious leaders do; instead, members feel it’s due to a lack of enforcement.

Catholics: Just 11 percent said illegal immigration was caused by not letting in enough legal immigrants; 78 percent said it was caused by inadequate enforcement efforts.
Mainline Protestants: 18 percent said not enough legal immigration; 78 percent said inadequate
enforcement.
Born-Again Protestants: 9 percent said not enough legal immigration; 85 percent said inadequate enforcement.
Jews: 21 percent said not enough legal immigration; 60 percent said inadequate enforcement.
Unlike religious leaders who argue that more unskilled immigrant workers are needed, most members think there are plenty of Americans to do such work.

Catholics: 12 percent said legal immigration should be increased to fill such jobs; 69 percent said there are plenty of Americans available to do such jobs, employers just need to pay more.
Mainline Protestants: 10 percent said increase immigration; 73 percent said plenty of Americans available.
Born-Again Protestants: 7 percent said increase immigration; 75 percent said plenty of Americans available.
Jews: 16 percent said increase immigration; 61 percent said plenty of Americans available.
When asked to choose between enforcement that would cause illegal immigrants to go home over time or a conditional pathway to citizenship, most members of religious communities choose enforcement.

Catholics: 64 percent support enforcement to encourage illegals to go home; 23 percent support conditional legalization.
Mainline Protestants: 64 percent support enforcement; 24 percent support conditional legalization.
Born-Again Protestants: 76 percent support enforcement; 12 percent support conditional
legalization.
Jews: 43 percent support enforcement; 40 percent support conditional legalization.

In contrast to many religious leaders, most members think immigration is too high.

Catholics: 69 percent said immigration is too high; 4 percent said too low; 14 percent just right.
Mainline Protestants: 72 percent said it is too high; 2 percent said too low; 11 percent just right.
Born-Again Protestants: 78 percent said it is too high; 3 percent said too low; 9 percent just right.
Jews: 50 percent said it is too high; 5 percent said is too low; 22 percent just right.

America is waiting for its UKIP. The first politician or political party that steps up and raises immigration restriction as an issue is going to see its support surge. This will totally upend the predictions for the 2016 presidential race since it will allow a populist candidate or party, like UKIP, to emerge from the fringes and storm into the mainstream of political debate.

Border crisis scrambling the politics of immigration policy
But O’Rourke added that he has been surprised by the anger he has heard toward the immigrants from many of his El Paso constituents, who “feel like we can’t take care of everyone, and these children and their families are gaming the system.”

Not so long ago, the young faces that galvanized the immigration debate were of those dubbed the “dreamers.” Hundreds of thousands of them had been brought to the country illegally by their parents when they were children and found themselves in danger of deportation through no fault of their own.
Social mood in action, propaganda and numbers. In previous years social mood was more positive and the public's opinion of immigration was more positive; that has changed. Until the recent episode on the border, the media and politicians were able to hide the scale of illegal immigration by not reporting on it. The crisis at the border and the huge numbers involved have blown the charade out of the water.

Now that the topic is becoming a major issue, the public's opinions are being aired and they are 100% opposite to the Democrats, GOP and President Obama.

UKIP was a distant warning shot. The defeat of Eric Cantor was a much closer shot. Few if any politicians have stepped up to advocate an immigration restriction policy. They have nearly all taken the easy road of bashing President Obama for inaction. This leaves an opening for an ambitious politician.

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