Poll: Most Open to Letting Immigrants Stay
By NANCY BENAC, Associated Press Writer Sun Apr 2,
5:35 AM ET
WASHINGTON - A slim majority of Americans are open to
allowing undocumented workers to obtain some sort of
temporary legal status to remain in the United States,
with stronger support for the idea among Democrats,
younger adults and more educated Americans, a new poll
Overall, 56 percent of Americans favor offering
illegal immigrants a shot at some kind of legal
status; roughly two-thirds of those ages 18-34 like
the idea and an equal share of those with a college
education agree, the AP-Ipsos survey found.
While Democrats were more likely to support temporary
worker status, with 62 percent favoring the idea, even
among Republicans there was majority support, by a
narrower 52 percent, according to the poll.
The AP-Ipsos survey of 1,003 adults was conducted
Tuesday through Thursday, as debate swirled in
Congress over a proposal that would legalize many
illegal immigrants in the United States and expand
guest worker programs for an estimated 400,000
immigrants each year.
Two-thirds of Americans think illegal immigrants fill
jobs that most Americans don't want, the poll found.
But the survey found greater ambiguity on whether
illegal immigrants are good or bad for American
society, on balance. Fifty-one percent said illegal
immigrants mostly make a contribution to society, and
42 percent said they were mostly a drain.
Likewise, there was deep division on how serious a
crime it should be enter the country illegally.
Fifty-one percent thought it should be considered a
"minor offense" and 47 percent considered it a
"serious criminal offense."
Americans were skeptical that erecting a fence along
the border with Mexico would reduce the number of
illegal immigrants two-thirds doubted it would work.
The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1