A new poll from the Pew Research Center with regard to legal immigration reform being discussed by our Congress:
‘Borders First’ a Dividing Line in Immigration Debate
More Say Legalization Would Benefit Economy than Cost Jobs
As the Senate works toward a compromise on immigration reform, the emerging proposal addresses two widely-held public goals. Broad majorities – across party lines – continue to support a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. And large majorities also say this legislation must include increased border security.
But the public is divided on an issue that has been among the most contentious in Congress – whether border security must be achieved before the process of legalization can go forward. The national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted June 12-16 among 1,512 adults, finds that 43% say that people in the U.S. illegally should be allowed to seek legal status only after effective border control is established, while 49% say this can occur while border security improvements are being made.
Republicans and Democrats are on opposite sides of this issue: 60% of Democrats say border improvements and applications for legal status can happen at the same time, while a majority of Republicans (56%) say the borders must effectively be controlled first.
Yet there also are substantial differences within both partisan bases. Republicans who agree with the Tea Party favor a “border security first” approach by more than two-to-one (67% to 27%). Non-Tea Party Republicans are divided (47%-47%).
And while much of the focus in the congressional immigration debate has been on the GOP’s divisions, internal differences among Democrats are just as wide. Liberal Democrats, by 74% to 23%, say the process of applying for legal status should go forward while border security is being increased. But only about half (53%) of the party’s conservatives and moderates agree. FULL REPORT>>>
Perceptions of the nature of the border problem factor into public views on this debate. The survey finds that a majority of the public (55%) believes that the number of immigrants entering the United States illegally is higher now than it was 10 years ago while about four-in-ten believe it is the same (27%) or lower (15%) today. Those who believe the illegal immigration rate has risen are more likely than others to say legal status should come only after improvements are made to border security.