This newly-released 22-page report titled Beyond the Clash: How a Deliberative Public Talks about Immigration describes some of the outcomes from 86 nonpartisan public forums that were held in 28 states during 2018. In those forums, participants used the issue guide Coming to America: Who Should We Welcome, What Should We Do?
The following is excerpted from the Kettering Foundation announcement about the report release:
In their substance and tone, these deliberative forums were a notable departure from most partisan exchanges. The views participants expressed, with few exceptions, were not those of people who favor sharply restricting immigration, nor were they advocates of an extreme pro-immigration agenda that favors open borders. By and large, forum participants were willing to grapple with trade-offs to try to find a practical and humane response to a complex problem.
This report on the 2018 National Issues Forums on immigration offers a powerful demonstration that typical Americans with differing views can exchange ideas on immigration and that, as they listen to one another, their views become more nuanced and pragmatic. Most important, it shows that people with different starting points can and will find areas of common ground for action on which they would be willing to come together. And time after time, in all kinds of settings, participants leave the forums wishing that their elected officials, too, could begin looking for areas of agreement and hammering out a more lasting solution. For policymakers, these deliberative forums provide a different kind of knowledge that can uniquely outline the bounds of political permission within which they have room to lead.