Survey of Public Opinion Regarding Immigrants and Immigration

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Survey of Public Opinion Regarding Immigrants and Immigration

My perspective on the issue of US immigration is different than most Americans because I came to the United States as an immigrant. Firsthand, I know what it's like to stand in long lines at the immigration office, hoping to have my number called to speak with a screening officer. I know how hard it is to survive the jobless 6-month parole period while waiting for an immigration interview. And I know what it's like to have my immigration application denied due to technicality. I sympathize with people coming to the US because I know the system is not easy to navigate.

For these reasons, I contacted 30 people and asked the following question: "Should the relatives of immigrants in the USA be allowed to move to this country?" I selected a group of 15 men and 15 women from family and friends as I thought this group would be easy to reach and would agree participating in a survey. Age ranged from approximately 24 to 83 and included 10 direct immigrants or children of immigrants from Australia, England, India and Italy. I personally interviewed, telephoned or e-mailed each person the survey question and had a follow up conversation asking for reasons supporting their opinion. In an attempt to identify trends, participants were also asked to provide the following demographic information:

Age

Ethnic Group

Marital Status

Sex

Education Level

Religion

Occupation

Birthplace

Citizenship

I anticipated three outcomes from this survey. First, I predicted a majority of respondents would agree that relatives of immigrants should be allowed into the US with the following conditions: first, they immigrate legally; second, they are sponsore...

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...e was that people were curious to discover what the popular opinions were. Immediately after completing the survey, several participants were curious and asked about other peoples' responses. I suspect this is because people need a sense of belonging to a group and like their beliefs to be in line with popular opinion.

I believe the results of this survey to be accurate as the survey was conducted in a fair and professional manner. However, I also discovered how easy it can be to manipulate the data and the opinions of participants to favor a single viewpoint. Surveys are an important method of gathering, summarizing and presenting large amounts of data. However, when relying on polls to form opinions or make decisions, people should consider the source, look for any conflicts of interest, contemplate other avenues of information and draw their own conclusions.

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