When President Trump proposed the RAISE Act, which would change the method of selecting legal immigrants to a “points system” based on merit, including education and English proficiency, the media and many proponents of unrestricted immigration decried it. The RAISE Act was inhumane, contrary to the sentiment expressed by the poem that adorns the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, etc.…”) However, it looks like a plurality of Americans supports the bill at a 44 to 30 percent margin. Indeed, the merit based system is backed by a huge majority.

What do the numbers say?

Hot Air tells us that 61 percent of Americans favor a merit based points system as a basis for admitting immigrants. 59 percent support restricting legal immigration, though 48 percent favor cutting it by half. 62 percent agree that English proficiency should be criteria for admission to the United States as a permanent resident. Lopsided number of Republicans favor the RAISE Act and its various provisions. However, a significant number of Democrats and Hispanics also favor the bill and its various provisions.

The political fallout?

As the election of Donald Trump as president shows, a disconnect exists between elites and opinion leads and large numbers of American voters.

Many Americans view illegal immigration as a burden and something that should be stopped in accordance with the law. Now we saw that Americans tend to view legal immigration as a problem as well. They are fine with admitting highly skilled immigrants, those with education, money, and English speaking skills. They get the proposition that immigrants can enrich the United States.

However, Americans have grown to be more picky about who gets let is. Low skilled immigrants who are likely to compete for jobs or else become a burden on the public purse are not looked upon with great favor.

The elites have been misreading the politics of immigration. They tend to favor unrestricted immigration because they say it is compassionate, but really because it provides a pool of inexpensive labor.

Americans are starting to get that inconvenient truth as well and are reacting.

Trump, who is a canny politician considering the low expectations his enemies have of him, recognizes that opposition to unrestricted immigration is a potent political force. Moreover, he knows that the attitude is not based on bigotry but economic self-interest. Nothing exists like the desire to get ahead and anger at anything that gets in the way to move voters and win elections.

The conventional wisdom is that the RAISE Act cannot pass the Senate. Democrats are united in their love of unrestricted immigration and enough Republicans have been cowed by the issue to ensure that the bill never sees the light of day. However, these numbers suggest that politicians may oppose the bill at their peril.