Another misleading Public Religion Research Institute immigration poll (Saperstein, Preston, CNN)

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The Public Religion Research Institute describes itself in the highest terms possible [1]:

PRRI’s mission is to help journalists, opinion leaders, scholars, clergy, and the general public better understand debates on public policy issues and the role of religion and values in American public life by conducting high quality public opinion surveys and qualitative research. As members of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the American Political Science Association (APSA), and the American Academy of Religion (AAR), our research team follows the highest research standards of independence and academic excellence.

On the other hand, PRRI has yet another deceptive immigration poll designed to push comprehensive immigration reform [2]. A previous deceptive PRRI poll is discussed at that link. Note also that their Board is chaired by Rabbi David Saperstein, a supporter of illegal immigration; see the link for more.

PRRI's latest deceptive poll asked "How should the immigration system deal with immigrants currently living in the U.S. illegally?", with the possible responses being "Allow them a way to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements", "Allow them to become permanent legal residents but not citizens", and "Identify and deport them". The first option got 63% support, the second 14%, and the third 18%.

Their set of possible options is the deportations false choice: they ignore the attrition plan. Under attrition we'd increase immigration enforcement - but without the mass roundups PRRI implies - in order to encourage most illegal aliens to return on their own. Considering that even the New York Times has acknowledged that attrition is an option, why didn't PRRI include it?

Regarding the question itself, if you read this site on a regular basis you know that PRRI is referring to the millions of illegal aliens in the U.S. But, if you aren't that clued in to the immigration issue and have been subjected to decades of establishment media propaganda, how exactly are you going to parse the question?

First, calling illegal aliens "immigrants" is deceptive: someone is only an "immigrant" if they follow U.S. laws which define what an "immigrant" is. By not following our laws, illegal aliens can't call themselves "immigrants": we don't allow self-serve immigration here. See immigration terminology for more.

Second, how exactly did the respondents parse "currently"? Did some assume it meant that the question referred to legal immigrants who'd fallen out of status in some way?

And, PRRI is front-loading a term that some or many will consider good ("immigrants") and then tacking on the news that they're here illegally at the end.

PRRI tried different variants of the first choice, tacking on additional requirements in different versions. What they should have done if they were intellectually honest was test questions that weren't designed to obtain the result they wanted from the start.

Aside from the deceptive poll, PRRI later on quotes an "evangelical man in Orlando, Florida, cited his experience working with a Mexican roofing crew":

One of my first experiences working directly with immigrants was when I had a roof done on my house and it was a Mexican crew. The thing is, though, they were some of the best, hardest workers I’d ever met. Out in the broiling sun, they did an excellent job. Didn’t have to come back to redo anything, which has not been the case with other people I knew that have had their roofs done.

Immigration boosters really like to sit on their verandas watching others work in the hot sun.

Those promoting the deceptive PRRI poll include Julia Preston of the New York Times ("In Report, 63% Back Way to Get Citizenship", peekURL.com/zs7n8Rn ) and Ashley Killough of CNN ("Polls: Majority still support pathway to citizenship", peekURL.com/zXL5qBM ). It goes without saying that neither discuss how the poll is misleading.

Want to do something about this? Look up those who chat with @publicreligion and @robertpjones - especially academics and those in the polling business - and point out how PRRI isn't credible. Also look up those who chat with @JuliaPrestonNYT and @KilloughCNN and point out that they promoted the deceptive poll without mentioning how it deceived.

UPDATE: Others promoting the poll that you should help discredit include:
* Greg Sargent of the Washington Post ("GOP leaders agree: Immigration system needs to be fixed, but...", peekURL.com/zfedMwq , @ThePlumLineGS)
* Rebecca Shabad of The Hill ("Majority favors a pathway to citizenship, report finds", peekURL.com/zth3GXL , @RebeccaShabad)
* Courtney Coren of NewsMax ("Poll: 63 Percent Still Favor Path to Citizenship", peekURL.com/zSEf3Dg , @CourtnySue [not active])
* Aliyah Frumin of MSNBC ("Nearly 2 in 3 Americans want immigration reform: poll", peekURL.com/zHkHdDX , [hasn't tweeted yet] )

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[1] publicreligion . org/about
[2] publicreligion . org/newsroom/2013/11/2013-immigration-ii