Half of Americans Would Deport All Illegal Residents

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(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – More people in the United States are expressing support for deporting all illegal immigrants currently working in the country, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 50 per cent of respondents share this opinion, up eight points since May.

On the contrary, 27 per cent of respondents would allow illegal workers to remain in the U.S. and eventually apply for citizenship, and 16 per cent would allow them to work on a temporary basis but not offer them a chance to become citizens.

In March 2006, the Pew Hispanic Center calculated the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. at somewhere between 11.5 million to 12 million.

On Apr. 19, the Arizona State Senate voted 17-11 to pass an immigration bill, also known as the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act. The Arizona House of Representatives had previously endorsed the legislation in a 35-21 vote. The new bill includes provisions such as making it a crime to transport someone who is an illegal immigrant; requiring state and local police to determine the status of a person if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they are illegal immigrants; arresting people who are unable to provide documentation to prove they are in the U.S. legally; and making it a crime to hire day labourers off the street.

U.S. President Barack Obama called the Arizona immigration law “misguided” and called for “a common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform grounded in the principles of responsibility and accountability.” The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit, claiming that only federal authorities should be in a position to enforce immigration laws.

On Jul. 7, Republican Arizona governor Jan Brewer defended the immigration law in the face of the lawsuit, saying, “Today’s [lawsuit] is nothing more than a massive waste of taxpayer funds; these funds could be better used against the violent Mexican cartels than the people of Arizona.”

Polling Data

Which of these statements comes closer to your own point of view on the status of illegal immigrants who are currently working in the United States?

Jul. 2010 May 2010 Apr. 2010
They should be allowed to stay in the U.S., and eventually apply for citizenship 27% 25% 28%
They should be allowed to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis, but they should not become citizens 16% 21% 16%
They should be required to leave their jobs and be deported 50% 42% 45%
Not sure 8% 11% 11%

Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,002 American adults, conducted on Jul. 8 and Jul. 9, 2010. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)