Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Poll Shows Most in U.S. Want Overhaul of Immigration Laws

Expand Messages
  • A Beltran
    ... Subject: Poll Shows Most in U.S. Want Overhaul of Immigration Laws May 3, 2010 Poll Shows Most in U.S. Want Overhaul of Immigration Laws By RANDAL C.
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2010

      ----- Forwarded Message ----

      Subject: Poll Shows Most in U.S. Want Overhaul of Immigration Laws

      May 3, 2010

      Poll Shows Most in U.S. Want Overhaul of Immigration Laws


      LOS ANGELES — The overwhelming majority of Americans think the country’s
      immigration policies need to be seriously
      overhauled. And despite protests
      against Arizona’s stringent new immigration enforcement law, a majority of
      Americans support it, even though they say it may lead to racial profiling.

      These are the findings of the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

      With the signing of the Arizona law on April 23 and reports of renewed efforts
      in Washington to rethink immigration, there has been an uptick in the number of
      Americans who describe illegal immigration as a serious

      But the poll — conducted April 28 through May 2 with 1,079 adults, and with a
      margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points — suggests
      that Americans remain deeply divided about what to do.

      The public broadly agrees, across party lines, that the United States could be
      doing more along its border to keep illegal immigrants out. The view was shared
      by 78 percent of the respondents.

      That unity, however,
      fractures on the question of what to do with illegal
      immigrants who are already here and the role of states in enforcing immigration
      law, normally a federal responsibility.

      A majority of the people polled, 57 percent, said the federal government should
      determine the laws addressing illegal immigration. But 51 percent said the
      Arizona law was “about right” in its approach to the problem. Thirty-six
      percent said it went too far and 9 percent said it did not go far

      The law has recharged the national debate over securing the border and what to
      do about the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country.

      The Arizona law gives local police officers broad power to detain people they
      suspect are in the country illegally and check their legal status. Lawsuits
      have already been filed on several grounds, including the argument that it will
      lead to the racial profiling of legal
      residents and that the state has
      unconstitutionally intruded on federal authority.

      Under a torrent of criticism, the Arizona Legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer made
      changes to the law on Friday that they say explicitly ban the police from
      racial profiling and allow officers to inquire about immigration status only of
      people they stop, detain or arrest in enforcing existing state law. But the new
      immigration law also now includes civil violations of municipal codes as
      grounds to
      check papers, and opponents were not mollified by the changes.

      In follow-up interviews, poll respondents who embraced the thrust of the
      Arizona law still called for a national solution.

      “The Arizona law is fine, but the federal government has to step in and come
      up with something — and they’re not doing it,” said Pat Turkos, 64, a
      library worker and Republican from Baltimore.

      She said: “I don’t think they should
      be stopped just walking down the
      street, only if they’re stopped for speeding, for example. I believe
      everybody has the right to come here, but I think they have to be made legal

      Although the respondents broadly agreed that the Arizona law would result in
      racial profiling, overburden local and state law enforcement agencies and
      decrease the willingness of illegal immigrants to report crimes for fear of
      deportation, large majorities said it would reduce the number
      of illegal
      immigrants in the state, deter illegal border crossings and, to a lesser
      extent, reduce crime.

      Some attitudes about immigration have remained stable among the public. Most
      still say illegal immigrants weaken the nation’s economy rather than
      strengthen it, and public opinion remains divided over how the United States
      should handle illegal immigrants currently in the country.

      But American attitudes toward the
      law and whether illegal immigrants already
      here should have a path to citizenship differed markedly across regions and
      parties. Westerners and Northeasterners, for example, are significantly more
      likely than those in other regions to say the recent law in Arizona goes too
      far. And Democrats are much more likely than Republicans or independents to
      support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants now in the country.

      Just 8 percent of Americans said the immigration system needed only
      changes. The vast majority said it needed reworking, including 44 percent who
      said it needed to be completely rebuilt and 45 percent who said it needed
      fundamental changes.

      Three quarters said that, over all, illegal immigrants were a drain on the
      economy because they did not all pay taxes but used public services like
      hospitals and schools. Nearly 2 in 10 said the immigrants strengthened the
      economy by providing
      low-cost labor and buying goods and services, a chief
      argument among many of their advocates.

      “I do think the federal government should deal with it, because illegal
      immigrants don’t pay taxes and don’t contribute to our government,” said
      Deborah Adams, 53, a Democrat from Ephrata, Pa., and a paramedic who called the
      Arizona law a “necessary evil.”

      “They take jobs from American citizens who need to work and pay into Social
      Security,” Ms. Adams said.

      In fact, many
      illegal immigrants do pay taxes into the Social Security system,
      but never see a return on their contributions.

      At immigration rallies in several cities on Saturday, demonstrators pressed the
      case for overhauling immigration law.

      So far no bill has been introduced in Congress. President Obama, while
      supportive of the idea of immigration reform, has questioned whether lawmakers
      have the appetite for a divisive
      battle over it after a year of other political
      fights and in the middle of a campaign.

      A delegation of Arizonans opposed to the law, including Mayor Phil Gordon of
      Phoenix, plans to meet with Justice Department officials on Tuesday to urge
      them to step into the brewing legal battle over the law.

      On Monday, one of the law’s staunchest advocates, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of
      Maricopa County in the Phoenix area, announced that after toying with the idea,
      he would not run for governor.

      Randal C.
      Archibold reported from Los Angeles, and Megan Thee-Brennan from New
      York. Marina Stefan contributed reporting from New York


    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.