Q U I C K T A K E
AMERICA IS A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS, and with more than 1 million arriving a year, the past decade has seen the greatest rise in immigration since the great wave of 1901-10. However, a growing backlash against immigrants -exemplified by California's controversial Proposition 187- could make this a critical issue in the 1996 presidential election. Though regional, the issue stirs passion in electoral-rich states like Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Illinois, New York and California. Should the federal government curtail public assistance to illegal immigrants? To legal immigrants as well, that is, until they obtain full citizenship? Is America's national character threatened by too much immigration? Candidates will need to take positions on these questions as well as on new federal legislation barring public assistance to legal immigrants. The issue cuts across party lines with some conservatives viewing immigrants as an economic boon, while others worry about cultural assimilation. Meanwhile, liberals (and some conservatives) are split between wanting to protect the jobs of native-born citizens, versus the ideal of embracing all newcomers.
P U B L I C O P I N I O N
TIME/CNN Poll, conducted September 21-22, 1994.
TIME/CNN Poll, conducted December 7-8, 1994
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