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In new poll, big majority says border not secure

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Byron York,Politics Digest

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll asks several questions about immigration reform, including one about border security.  “From what you have seen, read, or heard about the U.S. border with Mexico, would you say the border is totally secure, mostly secure, mostly not secure, totally not secure, or do you not know enough about this to have an opinion at this time?” asked pollsters Peter Hart and Bill McInturff of 1,000 people in early April.

The results were conclusive.  A total of 63 percent said the border is mostly not secure or totally not secure.   (Thirty-eight percent said mostly not secure and 25 percent said totally not secure.)  Just one percent said the border is totally secure, and another 17 percent said the border is mostly secure.

The Journal asked a few other questions about immigration reform, showing significant majorities supporting legalization and a path to citizenship for currently illegal immigrants.  But three of the questions appear to be based, in part, on an inaccurate premise, at least as far as current reform proposals are concerned.  The three questions asked respondents whether they would support legal status or a path to citizenship for “foreigners who have jobs but are staying illegally in the United States.”  The Senate Gang of Eight has not yet released its bill — it still not certain when that will happen — but it is highly unlikely there will be a firm job requirement for an immigrant to be granted legal status in the U.S.  It’s not clear why the Journal included the “who have jobs” wording, which might have had the effect of increasing respondents’ sympathy to the immigrants in question.

Sen. Marco Rubio, the leading Republican on the Gang of Eight, has often stressed that the group’s reform proposal would give legal status to immigrants who have paid fines, paid back taxes, have some understanding of English, passed a background check and submitted to fingerprinting.  There have been several occasions in which he listed those requirements, and having a job — often a temporary and changing condition — was not one of them.

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