How to Explain the Seeming Gap between Public Opinion and Immigration Reforms in Congress?

According to Gallup polls, less than a quarter of the American public supports expansive immigration policies, while more than three quarters of people prefer the status quo or more restrictive policies. However, as illustrated by the past legislation (and recent debates) over the legalization of undocumented immigrants and increased level of legal immigration, immigration reforms tend to produce legislative outcomes that are not consistent with public opinion. Why?

While the conventional view explains this gap by citing the dominant role of organized pro-immigration interest groups—such as business interests and ethnic groups—in immigration policymaking, in a current article in Political Research Quarterly I present an alternative view that focuses on the nature of immigration debates in Congress. [cont.]

Gyung-Ho Jeong (U. of British Columbia), The Monkey Cage

Recent polls: Immigration