Saturday, August 7, 2010

Americans split over how to solve illegal immigration

Americans are split over how best to proceed with immigration reform, with about 50 percent saying that stopping new undocumented migrants from arriving should be the top US priority, a new poll found Tuesday.

But the survey by the Gallup polling organization and USA Today newspaper also found that nearly as many respondents -- about 45 percent-- preferred to deal first with the millions of undocumented migrants already in the country.

The same poll, by 62 percent to 32 percent, also found Americans are more likely to see illegal immigrants as a burden on taxpayers by virtue of the social services they receive, rather than as productive people who contribute their fair share of taxes.

The Gallup/USA Today survey, taken between June 11 and 13, follows a roiling months-long debate in the United States over immigration policy, after the state of Arizona enacted a tough new law cracking down on undocumented migrants.

The Arizona law, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 29, requires police to determine the status of people they stop and also suspect are in the country illegally, and makes it a misdemeanor to lack proper immigration documents in Arizona.

Publication of the poll also follows a major speech last week by Barack Obama, in which the US leader argued that immigration reform should include effective strengthening of US borders and sanctions on businesses which hire illegal workers.

The random telephone survey of 1,014 adults had a sampling error of plus or minus four percent.

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