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34% Oppose Welcoming Immigration Policy

A third of American voters oppose an immigration policy that keeps out only criminals, national security threats and those who come to live off America’s welfare system because they don’t think it’s restrictive enough.

Still, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a welcoming immigration policy with only those restrictions.

But 34% now oppose a policy that keeps out only threats to national security, criminals and those who come here to take advantage of the welfare system. That’s up nine points from last month and the highest finding since Rasmussen Reports first asked the question in April 2006.  It remains to be seen whether this bump in opposition reflects a lasting change or is merely statistical noise. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Prior to this survey, those who supported an immigration policy with these limits ranged from 52% to 61%, while those opposed ran from 25% to 30%. The latter numbers generally fell in the mid-20s in regular monthly surveying since June 2010.

Two-out-of-three voters (66%) continue to believe that when it comes to immigration reform gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States. Just 28% think legalizing the status of illegal immigrants should be the priority. These findings are consistent with surveys back to June 2006

Most voters also still believe as they for over two years now that the federal government’s actions and policies encourage illegal immigration.  The U.S. Supreme Court last week announced that it will review the Obama administration’s challenge of Arizona’s law cracking down on illegal immigrants in that state. Also last week, the U.S. Justice Department announced bias charges against a popular Arizona sheriff for his efforts to stop illegal immigration.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.  

The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on December 14-15, 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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