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66% Put Border Control Ahead of Legalizing Status of Those Here Illegally

Two-out-of-three (66%) Likely U.S. Voters think gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of illegal immigrants already living in America when it comes to immigration reform policy.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 27% of voters rate legalizing the status of existing undocumented workers as more important. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

At the same time, 60% favor a welcoming immigration policy that excludes only national security threats, criminals and those who come here to live off our welfare system. Twenty-seven percent (27%) disagree with an immigration policy like that, while 14% more are undecided.

These figures are similar to last month’s survey and consistent with findings since April 2006.

Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly believe that controlling the border is more important than legalizing the status of illegal immigrants already in the United States. Democrats are fairly evenly divided--47% think legalizing those undocumented workers should come first while 42% see border control as the higher priority

There are virtually no partisan differences in support for a generally welcoming immigration policy.

“The data on immigration consistently shows that voters are open to welcoming immigrants legally,” noted Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “At the same time, voters distrust the federal government when it comes to enforcing laws already on the books.”

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 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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