Gibson falsely suggested polling shows Americans oppose granting legal status for illegal immigrants
Research ››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER
Fox News' John Gibson claimed that "[t]here is pretty substantial ... opposition to amnesty among the general public, if you look at the polls." In fact, most recent national polls show that most Americans support Gibson's definition of "amnesty" -- a temporary worker program and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Discussing an upcoming nationwide immigration rally on the April 27 edition of Fox News' The Big Story, host John Gibson claimed that "[t]here is pretty substantial ... opposition to amnesty among the general public, if you look at the polls." Gibson then signaled what he meant by "amnesty," describing it as "what is being discussed in Congress and in the White House" -- which includes a temporary worker program and a path to citizenship -- and adding: "Even yesterday the president apparently said he -- privately -- that he would like to see a road to citizenship for all the illegals." However, far from showing "substantial opposition" to a temporary worker program and a path to citizenship, most recent national polls show that most Americans support granting undocumented immigrants legal status in the United States.
For example, an April 21-24 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll asked: "If you had to make a choice, would you favor deporting immigrants in America who are not legal citizens and do not have work permits, or would you favor allowing these immigrants to stay in America as long as they pass a security check, meet certain conditions, and pay taxes?" Sixty-one percent of those polled favored allowing them to stay while 35 percent favored deportation. Similarly, an April 7-16 Pew Research Center poll found that 58 percent of those asked favored a proposal that would allow undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for several years to gain legal working status and the possibility of citizenship in the future. Thirty-five percent opposed.
Media Matters for America recently documented several other recent polls illustrating similar results:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 27 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:
GIBSON: There is a pretty substantial, I would think -- you would say, general opposition to amnesty among the general public, if you look at the polls, and yet the amnesty is what is being discussed in Congress and in the White House. Even yesterday, the president apparently said he -- privately -- that he would like to see a road to citizenship for all the illegals.
So, what happens when millions of people are out in a form of, you know, shutting down L.A., shutting down Fresno, shutting down Chicago -- that's the threat -- threatening the country? So what happens to that sense of, all right, maybe we will grant amnesty?