Fox News' Neil Cavuto falsely claimed that "the vast majority [of Americans] seems firmly against giving rights to people who entered America illegally." In fact, most recent national polls show just the opposite -- that most Americans support granting undocumented immigrants some form of legal status in the United States.
Introducing an April 18 segment exploring whether illegal immigrants' protests for legal recognition may have "backfir[ed]," Fox News' Your World host Neil Cavuto falsely claimed that "the vast majority" of Americans "seems firmly against giving rights to people who entered America illegally." In fact, most recent national polls show just the opposite -- that most Americans support granting undocumented immigrants some form of legal status in the United States.
For example, according to an April 8-11 Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, 54 percent of those polled would support a temporary guest worker program that provides a path to permanent resident status if certain requirements are met. Twenty-one percent opposed such a program. Additionally, an April 7-9 USA Today/Gallup poll found that 63 percent of respondents favored allowing "illegal immigrants to remain in the United States and become U.S. citizens, but only if they meet certain requirements over a period of time," while 17 percent said they would favor granting temporary status to illegal workers. Eighteen percent favored deporting all illegal immigrants back to their home countries.
Media Matters for America recently documented many other polls illustrating similar results:
- An April 6-9 Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 63 percent of respondents said they would prefer to "[l]et immigrants who have lived here a certain number of years apply for legal status and eventually become permanent citizens if they meet specific conditions, like paying a fine and back taxes." Twenty percent said they would prefer to "[d]eclare all illegal immigrants to be felons and not allow them to work here legally," and 14 percent stated a preference for letting illegal immigrants "pay a fee and work here for a limited number of years after which they'd have to leave the country."
- An April 6-9 CBS News poll found that 49 percent of those polled favor allowing illegal immigrants to apply for permits to stay and work in the United States; 43 percent opposed. Also, when CBS asked those polled if they would favor or oppose granting legal status to illegal immigrants who have "paid a fine, been in the U.S. for at least five years, paid any back taxes they owe, can speak English, and have no criminal record," 74 percent said they would favor allowing them to stay, while only 23 percent opposed.
- An April 4-5 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll found that 69 percent of those asked said they would favor "[a]llowing illegal immigrants who have jobs in the United States to apply for legal, temporary-worker status," while only 25 percent opposed.
- A March 23-30 Time poll found that 72 percent of respondents believe that the United States should let illegal immigrants "get temporary work visas," while only 25 percent believe Congress should "make illegal immigration a crime and not allow anyone who entered the country illegally to work or stay in the U.S." The Time poll also found that 72 percent of respondents "favor allowing illegal immigrants in the U.S. citizenship if they learn English, have a job and pay taxes."
From the April 18 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: Well, millions of illegals protesting in recent weeks, demanding rights, but that seems to have woken up millions of Americans who really didn't have much of a thought either way on the issue, until now. Now the vast majority seems firmly against giving rights to people who entered America illegally. So, are these protests backfiring on illegal immigrants? Let's ask Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth, author of Whatever It Takes [Regnery, January 2006]. Congressman, it does think -- it does remind folks that, up until this fuss, most people weren't giving it a fuss. Now they are, huh?