The Wall

Thinking back to a blog post from November 7, 2016

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With the U.S. Presidential election less than a day away and talk of the “blue wall” being breached, it is worthwhile to revisit the original wall. As the topic will rear up post-election.

My daughter was in 2nd grade in the last academic year. The grade culminated with a study of Mexican and Central American immigration into California and the Bay Area. Each student created their own research questions, and followed their curiosities in answering that question.

My daughter had just the one question, but it was (ahem) rather broad in scope — Why do people want to keep people out? That led to a good discussion on the topic and she decided she needed to do a survey to answer her question.

We used a recent Pew survey as a baseline and structured a survey before emailing it out. Some self-selection bias here, obviously, but the response was huge (see what I did there …) and results were very immigrant friendly. For example, only 15% of the 171 respondents thought illegal immigrants should leave the country. Note, the survey took place in May 2016, when the wall was a very big deal on the political airwaves.

Anyway, selected results of the survey are attached. In brief …

  • The respondents are majority U.S. born, white, women, and well educated
  • More than 90% believe immigrants (legal and illegal) make American society better; while around 20% feel that illegal immigrants do not
  • 90% think immigrants (legal and illegal) make the economy better
  • 5% believe that immigrants (legal and illegal) make crime worse; while around 15% think the same about illegal immigrants
  • Only 15% think illegal immigrants should be made to leave the country
  • Women are more immigrant friendly than men

No surprises given geography, but the main takeaway is that there is a big divide in the country. The issue is not going away and will need to be addressed fairly imminently by the next president. Best of luck to them.

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