Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the author of Arizona and Alabama’s harsh immigration laws and an advisor to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on immigration policy issues. He also told ThinkProgress that any law providing legal status to a class of undocumented immigrants would be unacceptable “amnesty.” According to a new National Journal poll, however, this view places Romney’s immigration advisor far outside the American mainstream:
The survey also tested attitudes toward dealing with young people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. Asked what should be done with young people brought here illegally who are attending college or have enlisted in the military, a 49 percent plurality agreed that Congress should allow them to remain in the country “and guarantee them that they can become American citizens if they complete their studies or military service.” Another 35 percent said that Washington should instead allow them to remain here and “apply for citizenship … but not guarantee them that they can become American citizens.”
The question did not identify the partisan sponsors, but the first option summarizes the Democrats’ existing Dream Act, and the second, the alternative that Republican star Rubio is drafting. Democrats strongly preferred the first option, while independents did so narrowly, and Republicans split almost evenly between the two. Hispanics heavily preferred the Democratic option, which also drew support from a slight majority of African-Americans and a narrow plurality of whites. Only one-in-10 of those polled (and even just one-in-seven Republicans) said that those young people should not be allowed to remain here. Similarly, just 17 percent said that the government should deport all of the illegal immigrants here “no matter how long” they have lived in the country; that’s down from 25 percent last December.
Mr. Romney, meanwhile, appears caught between his advisor and the watered down bill favored by Sen. Rubio. Rather than decide between these two unpopular options, Romney should do the right thing which, in this case, also happens to be the most politically popular thing.