According to the survey, 14 percent of participants agree, 28 percent either disagree or strongly disagree, and four of the seven did not respond to the question that immigration is a serious problem in the U.S. When asked about unauthorized immigration in the U.S., 57 percent agreed or strongly agreed that unauthorized immigration is a serious problem, 29 percent disagreed, and 14 percent had no opinion or didn’t know.
I tried to summarize the beliefs of both schools of thought and in the following paragraphs I will explain.
According to the survey, some people believe unauthorized immigration is a problem for reasons such as an increased crime rate, which is not validated by statistics. This group believes that those who do not follow the rules and/or do not pay taxes are taking advantage of those who do.
An interesting quote from a survey participant: “Immigration is not a problem as long as it is legal. Every nation has steps to becoming a citizen and the United States is no different. Work hard, follow the rules, and I’ll welcome you as my neighbor.’’
The opposing group thinks unauthorized immigrants are not a problem, because they help with the economy: ‘’This is a country of immigrants. And the degree that immigration is a ‘problem,’ is the degree to which we make it so. Most undocumented immigrants are doing work what no one else would do and we should be grateful to them and help them take an active role in our society, and we should pay them decent wages.’’
Others explained that immigrants offer affordable services in fields like house keeping and construction. These services cost less than minimum wage—a wage that American citizens will not take.
According to the survey, 86 percent of participants knew at least one illegal immigrant; 86% had never been adversely affected by immigrants.
Four of the most interesting and significant results of this survey were:
· 71 percent thought visa overstayers should not be treated in the same way as border crossing violators
· 86 percent believe visa overstayers should be reissued a temporary visa without deportation if criteria, such as a status of working or in school, are met
· 0 percent thought overstayers should be deported, no questions asked
· 14 percent believed that border crossing violators should be deported without question
Regarding the key question of immigrant contribution to the country, 43 percent believe that unauthorized immigrants take more than they contribute to the U.S, intellectually, culturally and economically, 43 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 14 percent had no opinion or didn’t know.
All participants agreed that the U.S. is a nation of immigrants and our diversity is our strength. They also agreed that immigration is only a problem when it becomes unauthorized but viewed overstayers and border crossing violators differently with most of the participants taking a more lenient position toward visa overstayers.