Immigration dissensus

I recently discussed a Wonkblog guest piece that argued there’s much more consensus on immigration policy that we typically realize.  My friend and colleague, Mike Cobb, took issue with this and wrote it up for the Monkey Cage.   The main problem with the earlier analysis, he argues, is that it focuses entirely on legal immigration rather than what do do about existing illegal immigration.  And that’s where there’s a huge difference between Democrats and Republicans.  When you look at a variety of questions on how to deal with existing illegal immigration, the partisan differences are quite stark (all the bolding below is mine):

 The results not only reveal a consistently large partisan gap about how to manage illegal immigration, but also a solid Republican preference for deportation. To start, a CNN/ORC poll conducted July 16-21, 2010 asked, “What should be the main focus of the U.S. government in dealing with the issue of illegal immigration—developing a plan that would allow illegal immigrants who have jobs to become legal U.S. residents, or developing a plan for stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. and for deporting those already here?” Although the question wording fails to isolate deportation as a single option, answers nevertheless reveal fundamentally different priorities among partisans. Three-quarters of Republicans (73%) answered that deportation and stopping the flow should be our priority. Meanwhile, just 39% of Democrats expressed that sentiment.

A TNS Opinion poll for Transatlantic Trends in 2011 asked a similar question. Although it didn’t use the word “deportation,” it isolated the effective equivalent of “requiring illegal immigrants to be returned to their home country.” Similarly, 66% of Republicans, but just 34% of Democrats, said illegal immigrants must be returned home. Furthermore, another question finds that 7 in 10 Republicans don’t believe citizenship should be granted to children of illegal immigrants who are born here (just 36% of Democrats agreed). In light of these data, Governor Romney’s attacks on Gov. Rick Perry as being soft on immigration during the GOP primary make more sense.

To further establish the breadth of the partisan divide, the CNN/ORC survey reveals that 75% of Republicans and just 30% of Democrats favor the immigration law passed in Arizona that was widely condemned by Hispanic interest groups. Likewise, a majority of Republicans support building a 700-mile fence along the border with Mexico (58%), while a majority of Democrats opposes that plan (61%). Finally, the intensity of attitudes also varies. When asked how the number of illegal immigrants made respondents feel, twice as many Republicans as Democrats reported feeling “angry” (32% versus 16%).

Now there’s your start differences that suggest that although there may be consensus on how we reform our laws in terms of prioritizing whom we legally let in, there’s a huge conflict on how to deal with the contemporary issue of illegal immigration.  And let’s be honest, that’s where the real political battle is now.  Here’s Cobb’s conclusion (with which I fully agree):

Yet, even these data demonstrate how deeply divided Americans are about illegal immigration. And if illegal immigration is the pivotal dimension to overall immigration reform, which I think it is, this only underscores the difficult situation Republican leaders find themselves in. Even if the Republican office holders don’t truly favor harsh policies, their voters certainly do.

Photo of the day

Recent National Geographic Photo of the day:

Picture of a mother cheetah and cubs

Cheetah and Cubs

Photograph by Scott Belt

This mother cheetah, with five cubs nearby, made it clear that her limits had been met (or exceeded).

Conference realignment

So, I read a really interesting post on the Duke Basketball Report forums the other day suggesting that college sports conferences should simply divorce football from all the other sports and this would enable it all to make a lot more sense.  For one, football teams only travel to 6-7 games a season, so even if you fly from Florida to Idaho, it’s not that big a deal.  When you are baseball or gymnastics or most anything else, it makes pretty much zero sense to regularly be travelling half-way across the country.  Anyway, was excited to see Slate’s sports columnist, Josh Levine, with a similar take:

Decoupling sports doesn’t only make money; it saves it. As a consequence of West Virginia’s football-motivated move to the Big 12, the Mountaineers’ women’s tennis team—which has a budget fit for Greyhound—now must make road trips to Texas, Iowa, and Kansas. This is foolish and unnecessary. If the West Virginia football team can earn more cash by aligning with Texas, let them play in Austin. Every other Mountaineers squad should stick to playing schools closer to Morgantown, like Marshall, Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Virginia Tech…

There is a lesson here for money-hungry athletic directors and college presidents. It’s true that conferences like the Big 10 and SEC can score higher-value deals with TV networks by packaging more schools and more sports together. But the conferences aren’t supposed to serve anyone other than their member institutions, which might well do better by shopping their services on their own. In the long run, it’s hard to see how a school like Maryland is better-served economically and competitively by running out on the Duke and North Carolina basketball programs. The realignments of the last few years have killed a bunch of great traditional rivalries, including Texas-Texas A&M in football and Syracuse-Georgetown in basketball. It’s time for schools to recognize that the one-conference-fits-all approach is the only tradition that needs to be scrapped.

And for informational purposes, I love this long post that summarizes all the recent conference realignments– including handy charts.  E.g., wow– the Big East sure ain’t what it used to be (which was also Levine’s point):

And, lastly, I love this Deadspin graphic that summarizes the geographic dispersion of each conference:

Anyway, the whole thing is nuts and frustrating.  I really am starting to thing that the key to improving this really is decoupling football.

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