Immigrant Rallies Fail to Shift Views on Illegal Aliens

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, May 4, 2006

Monday’s immigrant boycott didn’t do much to shift the public debate on immigration in either direction, according to a new survey that polled before and after the walkouts.

Before the marches, according to the Rasmussen Reports poll, 67 percent wanted an enforcement-first approach to immigration, and that number dropped a statistically insignificant one percentage point in the poll taken after the marches. Meanwhile, support for allowing illegal aliens a path to citizenship remained steady at 53 percent before and after.

“Nationwide rallies, protests, and boycotts on Monday had little if any impact on public opinion,” the pollsters said. “To the degree that there was any movement, it was not what the organizers intended.”

Hundreds of thousands of people—mostly Hispanic immigrants—left their jobs, boycotted “gringo” businesses and joined marches in major U.S. cities Monday, protesting a House immigration enforcement bill and calling for legalization of the estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the country.

The Rasmussen poll showed the protesters’ favorability rating rose from 24 percent to 29 percent, but support for pro-enforcement congressional candidates also rose when compared to support for pro-guest-worker candidates.

Meanwhile, another new poll shows more people support last year’s House bill that boosted border and interior enforcement against illegal aliens than support the current Senate proposal to allow most illegal aliens a path to citizenship.

Stacked head to head, the House bill received 56 percent support while the Senate bill received 28 percent support in the Zogby America survey, sponsored by the Center for Immigration Studies. Another 12 percent wanted to go further than either bill in enforcing the law, calling for mass deportations and roundups.

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