Tags

, , , , ,

Obviously, a recent Grinnell College poll with info on American attitudes towards immigration isn’t the Bible on this subject. But, as reported in Tuesday’s post, it shed an unusual amount of light on charges that immigration realists are racists and xenophobes, and if you doubt my conclusion that it exposed those allegations as hokum (to put it politely) check out these other findings from the survey.

Tuesday’s post focused on differences between Americans who voted for President Trump in 2016 and those who backed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton (who favored more lenient policies) on defining “real American identity.” It showed that the Trump voters (whose ranks of course included many supporters of more restrictive immigration policies) mostly rejected arguably racist and xenophobic ideas about American identity (e.g., that only Christians could be “real Americans”) and strongly embraced more inclusive definitions (e.g., “real Americans” accept folks with differing racial and religious backgrounds).

Yet the Grinnell survey also asked these two groups for their views of which kinds of immigrants the nation should and shouldn’t admit more of – measured by countries and regions of origin. And the responses send a similar message loud and clear: Trump voters’ views on immigrants from non-white regions and countries are virtually the same as their views on immigrants from majority white regions and countries. Here are the breakdowns, showing whether Trump and Clinton voters favor increasing or decreasing immigration from various countries and regions, whether they’d prefer leaving current levels where they are, or whether they’re not sure (n/s):

Mexico                        Trump                            Clinton

increase                          11                                   36

decrease                         40                                     8

same                               46                                  54

n/s                                    4                                     5

 

China                          Trump                            Clinton

increase                           9                                    23

decrease                        28                                    14

same                             59                                     58

n/s                                  4                                       5

 

India                         Trump                              Clinton

increase                        9                                       28

decrease                      25                                        7

same                           60                                       62

n/s                                6                                         4

 

Canada                   Trump                                Clinton

increase                    19                                        31

decrease                   16                                          7

same                         62                                       58

n/s 4 4

 

Middle East          Trump                                 Clinton

increase                    6                                          28

decrease                 47                                          11

same                       41                                         58

n/s                            5                                           3

 

Europe                Trump                                  Clinton

increase                 13                                          23

decrease                18                                            5

same                      64                                          66

n/s                           4                                            7

 

Caribbean          Trump                                  Clinton

increase                12                                           31

decrease                22                                            4

same                     62                                           60

n/s                          5                                             5

 

Africa               Trump                                     Clinton

increase               10                                            35

decrease              24                                               3

same                    60                                            58

n/s                         5                                               3

These results unmistakably show that it doesn’t make much difference to Trump voters where immigrants come from. Whether they’re arrivals, for example, from Europe (only 13 percent of Trump-ers want their ranks boosted) or Africa (ten percent), Trump-ers generally oppose greater inflows. The big outliers are Canada (19 percent) and the Middle East (six percent). And the degree of outlying isn’t enormous. Moreover, the racism charge looks particularly flimsy considering that the gap between support for more Mexican, Chinese, Indian, African, and Caribbean immigrants on the one hand, and more European immigrants on the other, is within four percentage points.

Could these numbers still support the xenophobia charge? That is, do they show that Trump voters just hate immigrants (and allegedly foreigners) indiscriminately? According to the Grinnell findings, this claim doesn’t make any sense, either. For in every case except Mexico and the Middle East, majorities of Trump supporters say they’re fine with keeping current immigration levels the same. And for some context, the nation currently admits legal immigrants at the rate of about one million each year. (According to the Department of Homeland Security, this number represents “nationals who are granted lawful permanent residence (i.e., immigrants who receive a ‘green card’), admitted as temporary nonimmigrants, granted asylum or refugee status, or are naturalized.)

Of course, polls are far from perfect, and the Grinnell sounding could be an outlier (though I’ve never seen any other surveys going over the same ground). But between the “real Americans” definition and country-of-origin results it reports, it’s at least a challenge to the Open Borders crowd either to explain why these findings are meaningless or misleading, or to produce data consistent with their unflattering description of the Trump supporters – and immigration restrictionists on the whole.

Advertisements