Politics
Students protest in favor of the DREAM Act, and encourage President Barack Obama to issue an executive order allowing them to remain legally in the United States.  Obama issued this order on Friday. (Photo: AP) Students protest in favor of the DREAM Act, and encourage President Barack Obama to issue an executive order allowing them to remain legally in the United States. Obama issued this order on Friday. (Photo: AP)  

Critics denounce Bloomberg poll indicating support for Obama’s immigration pivot

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Bloomberg News is touting a new poll that appears to shows strong public support for President Barack Obama’s de facto amnesty for many illegal immigrants, but the poll is skewed and pushes respondents toward approval, say critics.

“It doesn’t mention that at least one and a half million illegal aliens are being offered work permits to compete with the 20 million under- and unemployed Americans who can’t find a full-time job,” said Roy Beck of NumbersUSA.

The June 19 poll also “doesn’t mention that this is a form of amnesty that offers no new enforcement to keep it from enticing more illegal immigration,” he said.

“If you don’t tell people what the issues are, you can get any result you want,” said Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “It is a gross disservice to public discourse to create these ridiculous polls and pass them off as scientific,” he added.

The president’s de facto amnesty was announced June 15. It could provide work permits to 1.4 million people over the next few years, according to the Pew Research Center, amid an economy where roughly 20 million people are unemployed or underemployed.

However, that 1.4 million number may be boosted by the arrival of new immigrants with fraudulent documents, said critics.

The poll’s primary question told respondents that “President Obama announced that the U.S. would halt the deportation of some illegal immigrants if they came here before age 16, have been in the country for five years, have no criminal record, are in school or have a high school diploma or have been honorably discharged from the military. Do you agree or disagree with this new policy?”

Sixty-four percent of the respondents said yes, 30 percent said no and only six were unsure.

Sixty-five percent of independents agreed.

“It doesn’t talk about how many people are involved, it doesn’t explain the costs, it does’t explain the illegality,” Stein said.

Obama’s de facto amnesty is unfair, said Stein. “Why should someone who is 29, who claims to have been here since 16, should get an advantage and jump over people who play by the rules?”

The poll skewed high partly because “Americans are always generous when faced with the false choice between mass deportations and being lenient with illegal immigrants,” said Beck, who favors policies that encourage illegal immigrants to return home.

A Bloomberg article hinted at the complexities, quoting a swing-voter who welcomed Obama’s decision, but still planned to vote against him. Only four percent of people say immigration is their top issue, according to Bloomberg.

The poll was publicized by several media outlets, including National Public Radio and Politico.

The Bloomberg poll follows a June 17 announcement by Latino Decisions, which touted a possible boost for Obama from his controversial announcement to grant work permits to illegal immigrants who claim they are younger than 30.

The president’s de facto amnesty could provide work permits to 1.4 million over the next few years, according to the Pew Research Center. However, that number may be boosted by the arrival of new immigrants with fraudulent documents, said critics.

The poll was spun in the media as boosting enthusiasm for Obama among 49 percent of Latinos in the swing-states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia.

But that boost may not translate into election-day support amid a stalled economy and a Latino unemployment rate of at least 11 percent.

“The enthusiasm, assuming he campaigns on it, translates into more voters … [but] we won’t know [how many] until election day,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions.

The Latino Decisions poll showed that Obama’s policy shift actually reduced his support among 14 percent of Latinos and had no impact on 34 percent of Latinos.

The same poll showed that presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s pro-enforcement statements boosted enthusiasm among 10 percent of Latinos, had no effect on 27 percent of Latinos and lowered enthusiasm for 59 percent of Latinos.

Follow Neil on Twitter