LatinaLista — The mayor of Carrollton, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, made illegal immigration a part of his victorious campaign platform when he ran for office last year. As is common knowledge, he wasn’t the only small-town mayor who did this.
But as we increasingly see, last year is el pasado (the past) and this is a new year with new attitudes and new priorities. Yet, those politicians who feel that targeting undocumented immigrants will score them easy points with their constituents and insist on trying to resurrect last year’s fad of “hate the undocumented immigrant” are just deluding themselves.
The problem is they refuse to see it even when the evidence is staring them in the face.
When the City of Carrollton’ mayor, Ron Branson, announced he wanted to replicate the practices of neighbor Farmers Branch, Texas in targeting undocumented immigrants, he got pushback from his city council members.
Yet, Branson just knew that his constituents wanted him to go after undocumented immigrants. So, he had a plan. He was going to prove definitively to all those who opposed his leadership direction that his constituents were behind him 100 percent — he hired a professional survey company to poll the citizens of Carrollton on their feelings about illegal immigration.
The results are in and while the survey says one thing, the mayor is claiming something else.
You be the judge.
According to responses, there were indications that the issue of illegal immigration appeared to be a low-interest or low-involvement category for many citizens evidenced by the following:
â€¢ The majority (75%) said that illegal immigration had not affected them personally
â€¢ Throughout the survey, many (at least half in most cases) respondents answered in the neutral categories; unsure of, or unwilling to, state their opinions about the effects illegal immigration had on the city.
â€¢ During the survey process, 43 potential respondents declined the interview after learning the topic of the study was illegal immigration.
When comparing the priority of dealing with illegal immigration to a variety of other city programs and services, citizens consistently rated the other services more important than illegal immigration.
â€¢ The services rated most important were police and economic development, while those less important –although still more important than illegal immigration – were libraries and parks and recreation.
If there is anything really surprising about this survey, it’s that the people who hold the most negative opinions/reactions to undocumented immigrants tend to be 50+ years older and/or have lived in the town longer than 20 years.
It makes sense that this age group would feel the most threatened and react the most irrational when it comes to dealing with different ethnic groups and/or experiences. As a rule, this age group doesn’t socialize outside their comfort zones, grew up during a time when discrimination was acceptable behavior and, above all, don’t like change.
The survey ended with two particular recommendations that would seem to contradict the Mayor’s view that he knows what his constituents want from him.
There are a small group of citizens who think the city’s dealing with illegal immigration is a positive and necessary action, but a second group on the opposite end of the spectrum who find it to be a negative activity. The majority of citizens are either unwilling or unable to express a strong opinion either way There appears to either unwilling or unable to express a strong opinion either way. There appears to be a need for Carrollton to educate its citizens further, or run the risk of alienating one of the currently engaged parties, either the “fors,” or the “againsts.”
Almost half the citizens agreed the city could be spending a small amount of time or effort to strengthen its illegal immigration initiatives, but they were more likely to view the issue as belonging in the Federal rather than the City’s control. Citizens were more likely to suggest that the city work with Federal laws, and work with the Federal government, to change immigration laws to more effectively deal with the issue rather than taxing its citizens or compromising the services it currently offers.
The survey is spelling it out for the Mayor that illegal immigration isn’t going to be his political golden goose. In fact, from the survey, one gets the impression that the residents of Carrollton, Texas are far more worried over things that really do affect their lives.
The Mayor should ask his constituents about those issues. Then maybe he would get a lot more feedback and won’t have to make false claims of victory or that he knows what his constituents really want.