A new AP-Ipsos poll has found that 56 percent of Americans favor offering illegal immigrants a chance to attain some sort of legal status to remain in the United States. The survey of 1,003 adults was conducted between March 28 and 30 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
A majority of both Democrats (62%) and Republicans (52%) support temporary worker status. Approximately two-thirds of Americans aged 18 to 34 as well as an equal share of college-educated Americans have voiced the strongest support for the idea of offering illegal immigrants a chance to attain some kind of legal status.
The poll found that two-thirds of Americans believe that undocumented workers are filling jobs that most Americans don’t want. However, only 51 percent of those surveyed said they believe these workers make a contribution to society and 42 percent said that illegal immigrants are a burden.
The survey also found stark divisions with regard to how serious a crime it should be to enter the country illegally. Fifty-one percent thought it should be considered a “minor offense” and 47 percent considered it a “serious criminal offense.”
Two-thirds of Americans expressed doubt that a fence along our border with Mexico would reduce the number of illegal immigrants.
Legislation that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. without proper immigration papers has already been approved in the House. The Senate, however, is currently considering legislation that would give the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S. a chance at citizenship.
The Other “G” Word
Between the immigration and globalization controversies, there are plenty of oppugnant forces, opinions and oxymorons — some informed, some based upon propagandistic stereotypes, arbitrary provincialism and other anachronisms, and some born of a wide variety of manifestations of psychological projection — but no definitive ideas other than the usual suggestions of futile punitive measures commingled with the relentless cries of those who wish to preserve the status quo as a means of supporting capitalism — or human rights.
Republicans and conservative Democrats are sharply divided between a “law and order” mentality and strong support for business and industry. Authoritarians who oppose the idea of “rewarding” people who break the law to enter the country are taking a “get tough” stance with regard to illegal immigrants, but they are in conflict with their pragmatic capitalist bedfellows whose business interests want access to a cheap labor force of undocumented workers.
Meanwhile, those expressing the humanitarian viewpoint — often as if humanitarianism and anti-capitalism are one and the same — appear to be at odds with their anti-globalization brethren who decry the very free markets that provide disadvantaged peoples with opportunities they would not otherwise find in the isolation of a compartmentalized world economy.
Whether we like it or not (and most of us do, whether we acknowledge it or not), the world is getting smaller and there isn’t much we can do to make it as big as it once seemed because this global shrinkage was caused by our technological progress, not the resulting economics and economies and their effects upon international political relations and boundaries.
A Future Without Boundaries
Xenophobia used to be rational — and even somewhat prudent — in the days when journeys to faraway foreign lands were perilous and time-consuming endeavors with no guarantees of who or what travelers would find when — or more precisely, if — they reached their destinations. In those lawless and violent times, the avoidance of strangers was safe and sensible.
However, while the Industrial Revolution was ushering in the Information Age, xenophobia was cast aside in favor of curiosity, tribalism was supplanted by multi-culturalism and superstition was displaced by logic, reason and scientific discovery.
Now that people can quite safely circumnavigate the Earth in a matter of hours and information can travel at the speed of light, almost the entire world is literally at our feet and fingertips, making the fear of strangers from strange lands an irrational manifestation of cowardice, narrow-mindedness and willful ignorance.
Regardless of denials and protestations, it is inevitable that this planet, Earth, will someday be one world with one people and one economy. The notion of “borders” is becoming obsolete and will someday be regarded as ridiculous as the idea of categorizing and judging people by the color of their skins.
For over a century now, rapid advancements in transportation, communications and mass production have been quietly relegating such concepts as nationalism and isolationism to the proverbial dustbin of human history. However, humanity is not quite ready to accept that unavoidable destiny, thus this ongoing kerfuffle of paradoxical bedmates; capitalists who embrace bigotry, humanitarians who favor isolationism and confused partisans who are being forced to think for themselves.