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Why Ann Coulter Ignores Polls That Contradict Her

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ANN COULTER
Ann Coulter speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011. The annual gathering of more than 11,000 conservatives marked the unofficial start of the GOP presidential nomination fight. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) | ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Ann Coulter doesn’t trust polls showing that Americans disagree with her hardline immigration politics.

In a column aimed at undermining the conventional wisdom that most Americans support offering a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented, the rightwing columnist lashes out at pollsters before going on to claim that politicians aren’t calling for the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Coulter faults a poll by the Brookings Institution published in March for giving respondents “only two options, neither of which have been proposed by either political party or are up for a vote anywhere in America.” The choices were:

"The best way to solve the country's illegal immigration problem is to secure our borders and arrest and deport all those who are here illegally";

Or:

"The best way to solve the country's illegal immigration problem is to both secure our borders and provide an earned path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the U.S."

The question as presented by Brookings is, in fact, a fair one. The comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate last year included $46 billion in funds for border security. The U.S. government already spends more on immigration enforcement than all other law enforcement agencies combined, according to a study released last year by the Migration Policy Institute.

Leaving aside Coulter’s impossibly high standard of “border security,” it’s clear she assumes that all polling mirrors the Brookings Institution’s framing of the question.

It doesn’t.

Take, for example, this opinion poll conducted in November by the Public Religion Research Institute. It found 59 percent support for “allowing a way for immigrants who are currently living in the U.S. illegally to become U.S. citizens.” No caveats, no extra information. That support jumped to 71 percent of respondents when adding the phrase “providing they meet certain requirements, like paying back taxes, learning English, and passing a background check” -- all of which would be requirements under the proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill.

There’s plenty of other surveys out there and they’re easy to find. Here’s another -- a Quinnipiac poll asked in November:

Which comes closest to your view about illegal immigrants who are currently living in the United States? A) They should be allowed to stay in the United States and to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. B) They should be allowed to remain in the United States, but not be allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship. C) They should be required to leave the U.S.

A total of 57 percent of respondents opted for allowing undocumented immigrants to stay and apply for citizenship, while only 26 percent said they should have to leave. The easiest conclusion to reach is that Americans generally support a pathway to citizenship.

Coulter goes on to claim that that mass deportation isn’t part of the current immigration debate.

“NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT DEPORTATION,” Coulter writes, in all caps, presumably because the print format does not allow her to shout. “We didn’t round up 11 million foreigners to get them here, and we’re not going to round them up to send them home. They’ll leave the same way they came.”

The U.S. government deports nearly 400,000 undocumented immigrants per year.

Coulter has railed against Hispanics and immigration reform advocates in a series of columns and television appearances since President Barack Obama won reelection in November of last year.

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