Politics totally dominates immigration reform. Facts and evidence or even public opinion is secondary to partisan calculations.
Clearly, the border is somewhat more secure and illegal immigration is down because of enforcement and the weak economy. The public, when asked, demands a secure border, but will also support a path to citizenship.
But, there is no chance reform will pass in Washington, and having a “dialogue” in Colorado as President Obama proposes, will be nearly impossible. The issue has no salience among the public, and any conversation will be dominated by already committed stakeholders.
In recent polls in Denver and Larimer counties, when voters were asked the top issue for public officials to focus on in their respective jurisdictions, the economy and local government budgets were top and immigration barely registered.
In a recent speech by Frank Newport of Gallup at the national conference of pollsters in Phoenix (AAPOR), the lack of salience of immigration was confirmed in national polls (3% in recent open-ended question surveys). Newport also said:
• The issue is latent in that if an event takes place, people do become much more concerned.
• “Immigration reform” is perceived as illegal immigration and is seen negatively.
• People believe security first. And there is a vocal subset that can’t be satisfied.
• The majority of people do reflect positively on some combination of border security and solution to current undocumented immigrants.
See Denver Post article: White House launching new immigration-reform campaign