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64% Say Border Control Top Immigration Priority

Monday, June 20, 2011

Most voters continue to support a welcoming immigration policy but also believe that border control should be the nation’s top immigration priority.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 64% of Likely U.S. Voters feel that when it comes to immigration reform, gaining control of the border is more important that legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in this country. Thirty-one percent (31%) disagree and think legalizing the status of illegal immigrants should come first. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Yet 61% of all voters believe the goal of U.S. immigration policy should be only to keep out national security threats, criminals and those who come here to live off our welfare system. Beyond that, all immigrants should be welcome. But 27% oppose such a policy. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.

There remains a wide difference of opinion between the Political Class and Mainstream voters. Seventy-two percent (72%) of Mainstream voters say border control should take precedence over legalizing the status of illegal immigrants who are already here. Political Class voters are more narrowly divided. Only 45% agree with the Mainstream view, while 33% disagree.

These figures show little change in public opinion from a month ago and are consistent with findings in Rasmussen Reports surveys since 2006. There has been a slight increase in support for a welcoming immigration policy. It remains to be seen if this is a lasting change or merely statistical noise.

Earlier polling shows that 65% believe that employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants are a bigger problem than the immigrants who come seeking work.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 16-17, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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