Before getting to that, note the full wording of the question: "Do you think the number of immigrants to America nowadays should be: 1) Increased a lot, 2) Increased a little, 3) Remain the same as it is, 4) Reduced a little, or 5) Reduced a lot."
A strictly literal reading insinuates that options 4 and 5 favor deportation, since the question isn't asking about flow rates of immigration but instead about absolute numbers of immigrants in the US. A strictly literal reading also suggests that option 3 indicates a desire to tighten up restrictions on immigration to reduce the number of immigrants coming into the US in the future, and option 2 could be interpreted as contentment with the current situation rather than desirous of an increase in the rate of immigration.
Most people probably interpret the spirit of the question as concerning what should be done in terms of future levels of immigration allowed into the US, without any reference to removal from the country, but to the extent that there is a lack of clarity in the way the question gets answered, it is going to artificially cause the responses to appear to be more in accordance with immigration boosterism than with immigration restrictionism.
Even with the handicap, though, immigration just isn't something Americans are very enthusiastic about (n = 1,100):
|Did not complete high school||(30.3)|
|High school graduate||(35.1)|
|Born in the US||(35.5)|
The only two subgroups with positive IEQs are Asians and foreign-born residents living in the US (read immigrants), and there is of course a lot of overlap in these two categories. Perhaps uniquely among major contemporary political issues, there is a pronounced divide between old (black and white) America on the one hand and new (Asian and Hispanic) America on the other.
Notably, there is a vociferous, sizable minority of elites--30.5% of the 3% of respondents who identified as "upper class"--who support increasing immigration, the highest pro-immigration figure for any of the subgroups except for Asians. These one-percenters are the Koch brothers and the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.
Parenthetically, the reason the immigration enthusiasm score for the upper class is lower than it is for other categories is because there are a relatively high number of upper class respondents who want immigration reduced as well--the elites aren't fence sitters on the question (or any other question for that matter)!
Too bad that, yet again, there isn't a Republican presidential candidate who reflects the views of most
GSS variables used: LETIN1A(1-2)(4-5), PARTYID(0-1)(3)(5-6), RACECEN1(1)(2)(4-10)(15-16), CLASS, EDUC(0-11)(12)(13-15)(16-17)(18-20), BORN, SEX, AGE(18-29)(30-44)(45-64)(65-89)