Immigration is a topic that can be difficult to address. Often times, polls are used to validate an argument. While there are countless polls on the topic, including some from the officially nonpartisan Pew Research Center, there are few that also address border security — especially in recent years.
That’s too bad because if there is ever going to be an honest discussion on immigration and what Americans want, border security needs to be discussed.
We suspect many people aren’t opposed to immigration, but want a secure border. There isn’t a nation in the world that doesn’t want to control who comes in, especially given terrorism, drugs and other criminal activity.
Opposing legal immigration would be foolish for the United States. The fact is, the country needs immigrants.
Immigration policy in the United States is important to future economic growth over the next few decades, especially when considering the country’s aging population and relatively low native fertility, according to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
“If we want to continue growing, if we want to maintain our relative position in the world population, really the only way we’re going to accomplish that is if we bring in more immigrants,” said Alexander Arnon of the Penn Wharton Budget Model, which has built an online immigration policy simulator.
So why not secure the border and increase the number of immigrants? There have been countless efforts in recent decades to secure the border, but nothing has worked.
Is the wall at least worth a try? Would there be less objection to it if at the same time, the U.S. agreed to increase the number of legal immigrants? At least then, there would be a much better chance of preventing immigrants with criminal backgrounds from arriving. Plus, the U.S. would be less likely to have to handle immigration waves and the resulting crisis situations if people knew that they could come in legally.
The Pew Research Center indicates that illegal immigration peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million, but has declined to 10.5 million in 2017. That represents a significant number of people who the government knows little or nothing about. While it might not be as pressing of an issue as it once was, it still is a major issue.
More than 1 million immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year, according to the Pew Research Center. About 77 percent of them are legal, with the rest arriving illegally.
What the Pew Research and others don’t ask in these polls is whether Americans want a secure border and whether the wall would be the best answer to secure it.
Would those who are against immigrants still be against immigration if they knew the border was secure?
That would be useful information and could be the basis of an honest discussion on the topic. After all, it there truly was a secure border, illegal immigration would not be much of a problem.