Polls: Public's immigration priorities changing
February 17th, 2014
01:03 PM ET
8 months ago

Polls: Public's immigration priorities changing

Washington (CNN) - A second-straight national poll indicates that many Americans have shifted their priorities when it comes to immigration reform.

According to a Gallup survey released Monday, 44% of those surveyed say it's extremely important for the United States to develop a plan to deal with the large number of undocumented immigrants.


Forty-three percent say the top priority should be beefing up border security to halt the flow of undocumented workers into the country.

That's a shift from 2011, when Gallup polling indicated border security trumped dealing with immigrants already in the country.

"Compared with 2011, Americans of all partisan orientations have come to view border security as less important. Meanwhile, their views on the importance of devising a plan to deal with illegal immigrants already in the United States have been largely stable," said a release by Gallup.

The Gallup poll follows the release earlier this month of a CNN/ORC International poll that indicated a majority of the public said the government's main focus should be legalizing the status of the undocumented rather than border security.

According to the CNN survey, 54% said the top priority for the government in dealing with the issue of illegal immigration should be developing a plan that would allow those with jobs to eventually become legal U.S. residents.

Just over four in 10 of those questioned said the main focus should be developing a plan for stopping the flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States and for deporting those already here.
The CNN poll also found that attitudes have shifted since 2011.

"Starting in 2012, most Americans have said that the government's focus should be on a plan that would allow those immigrants to become legal U.S. residents. A majority has consistently taken that position since that time - 56% in 2012, 53% in 2013, and 54% in the current poll," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The Democratic-controlled Senate approved a bipartisan immigration bill last year that included an eventual path toward citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

The Senate bill stalled in the GOP-led House. Republicans said they preferred to address the matter incrementally rather than in one comprehensive measure.

Earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner signaled any action on immigration is unlikely this year because he said Republicans in the chamber don't trust President Barack Obama on the issue.

The Gallup poll was conducted February 6-9, with 1,023 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from January 31-February 2, with 1,010 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN/ORC poll • Immigration • Polls
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Cue the wingnut chorus.

    February 17, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. salty dog

    I don't think anyone is buying it speaker, you can't say or do what you want publicly, or you'll lose what little Latino support you have, on the wrong side again, as usual.

    February 17, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    USA is getting over-populated. Watch out. Yes, USA needs immigration reform too.

    February 17, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Al-NY,NY

    Since the border will NEVER EVER be secure enough for the xenophobic nationalists, the GOP and their sheep will NEVER EVER agree on a plan to citizenship. All they have to do is blather on and on about "security" and their flock of mindless sheep will yell "ditto"

    February 17, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. The REAL TRUTH...

    The current administration deported more illegals in it's first 3 yrs in office than did Dubya in 8. They also sent extra resources to help with border control, but the Republican Governors of the borders states routed those resources elsewhere, then complained about immigration.
    Fact is folks.. they ARE HERE already, they are NOT going home, whether we like it or not.. why shouldn't we collect some tax revenue from them?

    February 17, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. O'drama ya Mama

    Republicans are running out of issues to use "the majority of Americans want" excuse.

    February 17, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    The Senate immigration bill addresses border security. It actually goes overboard with it. Republicans are hoping immigration dies a slow death in Congress and that the nation just forgets about it. Boehner is putting immigration on the back burner until after the election. And even after the election it's unlikely that republicans will address the issue. The President has said he's open to a piecemeal approach and yet republicans stall.

    February 17, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Bill from GA

    If we are not going to enforce our borders, let's move to a European Union style approach.

    Merge Canada, the USA, and Mexico into one Union, much like Europe did. At least then our southern border would be much smaller.

    Personally, I prefer the approach where we seriously penalize anyone hiring undocumented workers, but nobody seems to like that.

    In Georgia, in the late 1990's, the onion growers raised a stink when Immigration officials showed up; their republican Representatives stepped in and stopped enforcement. Recently, the tea-bag state government here passed tough immigration laws, the workers went away, six months later word got out that the laws were not being enforced and they came back (from an article in the Atlanta newspaper).

    February 17, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Tom

    Sadly, it won't be until the 1% of wealthy Republicans (the only group that really matters to Republicans) change their thinking, will any attempt at immigration reform finally succeed.

    February 17, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Peace

    I can't understand these republicans. They are talking about Border Security. If at all they were serious about securing the border, what have they done since they started talking about it. It looks like for them it is the work of the other side. No it is not, it is the work for both sides. These people are not serious at all on this issue, and I think Hispanics are taking notes on this.

    February 17, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. just saying

    The REAL TRUTH...
    The current administration deported more illegals in it's first 3 yrs in office than did Dubya in 8.
    -–
    total lies. enough sniffit knows these are lies because he posted the numbers. the real truth is that deportations were going up every single year, until obama took office then the growth stopped.

    They also sent extra resources to help with border control, but the Republican Governors of the borders states routed those resources elsewhere, then complained about immigration.
    -–
    more total lies. border patrol agents are federal resources and cannot be diverted. please offer facts to back up your lies.

    Fact is folks.. they ARE HERE already, they are NOT going home, whether we like it or not.. why shouldn't we collect some tax revenue from them?
    -–
    of course they are not going home because democrats set up sanctuary cities, they get government services, now states are giving them licenses, tuition breaks, welfare, etc. and now you want to claim we can just sell our country for a few more tax dollars. this is how much the looney left thinks of our laws and country. for sale to all the illegals that want to come here.

    February 17, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. much thunder...little rain

    most of these workers bust there tails working jobs we dont want...send home the crimminals, welfare dead beats, keep workers who work the rest send them home

    February 17, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    -just saying

    The REAL TRUTH...
    The current administration deported more illegals in it's first 3 yrs in office than did Dubya in 8.
    -–
    total lies. enough sniffit knows these are lies because he posted the numbers. the real truth is that deportations were going up every single year, until obama took office then the growth stopped.

    They also sent extra resources to help with border control, but the Republican Governors of the borders states routed those resources elsewhere, then complained about immigration.
    -–
    more total lies. border patrol agents are federal resources and cannot be diverted. please offer facts to back up your lies.

    Fact is folks.. they ARE HERE already, they are NOT going home, whether we like it or not.. why shouldn't we collect some tax revenue from them?
    -–
    of course they are not going home because democrats set up sanctuary cities, they get government services, now states are giving them licenses, tuition breaks, welfare, etc. and now you want to claim we can just sell our country for a few more tax dollars. this is how much the looney left thinks of our laws and country. for sale to all the illegals that want to come here.
    ************
    Hey, if they pay cash, why should that bother the Right? Everything always comes down to money for the wingnut brigade, but if they could figure a way to make a buck, they would be all for it. Enforcing the laws, sealing the border: all that represents is their inability to make it pay for them.

    February 17, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. ghostwriter

    Just saying, you got it all wrong. If those sanctuary cities were such an issue, republicans would have been screaming to get them closed. You know...the same jerks that held 40+ votes on Obamacare.....

    Quite the contrary...republicans are just fine with the way things are now. They don't want things to change. Neither side does. This lil impasse will go, with neither side bothering to pick it up later.

    February 17, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. Keith ..... in Oregon

    I would think the path to citizenship already exists. Go home, your legal home, and visit the US embassy or consulate and apply for legal entry into the US.

    February 17, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. rs

    Another sad Republican "talking point"- which must be some kind of code for "we have no clue what to do", so instead we get brilliance like "build the dang fence" and endless whining and faux anger over "unenforced laws" instead of trying to create a solution that benefits both the nation and the illegal immigrant.
    Naturally that might mean working with the Democrats and THAT President, so we know better than to expect that.
    Whining, cutting taxes and complaining the government "doesn't work"- that's today's GOP.

    February 17, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. just saying

    ghostwriter
    Just saying, you got it all wrong. If those sanctuary cities were such an issue, republicans would have been screaming to get them closed.
    --

    democrats are running these sanctuary cities. every single one of them. democrats have encouraged and protected the illegals for decades. democrats have opposed securing the border and enforcing all of our immigration laws. democrats could care less about this country or its sovereignty. democrats are the party of lawlessness and corruption, the party of criminals and country invaders. now they claim they want 'comprehensive reform'. translation, make all the illegals citizens, don't secure the borders and go through the same thing in 10 years.

    February 17, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    -just saying

    ghostwriter
    Just saying, you got it all wrong. If those sanctuary cities were such an issue, republicans would have been screaming to get them closed.
    -

    democrats are running these sanctuary cities. every single one of them. democrats have encouraged and protected the illegals for decades. democrats have opposed securing the border and enforcing all of our immigration laws. democrats could care less about this country or its sovereignty. democrats are the party of lawlessness and corruption, the party of criminals and country invaders. now they claim they want 'comprehensive reform'. translation, make all the illegals citizens, don't secure the borders and go through the same thing in 10 years.
    *******************
    So, the US Chamber of Commerce, that bastion of leftist sentiment, is what is behind the Sanctuary cities? Who woulda thunk it? They have been one of the driving forces behind immigration reform because they would rather have this issue dealt with out in the open rather than subscribing to your paranoia.

    February 17, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. it must be said

    I wonder why other countries have these same problems? Why don't other countries have 20-30 MILLION illegal people in their countries, all collecting public benefits, being given drivers licenses, etc? Oh yeah, they have immigration laws that they actually enforce. When they find somebody in their country illegally, they are jailed and/or deported. Many countries have very harsh immigration laws with severe penalties for violators.

    Without securing our borders, how can this ever be stopped? Without strict enforcement of all of the laws, how can this ever be stopped? Democrats have no intention of backing either secure borders and strict enforcement, including deportation. Even after this mythical 'comprehensive reform'.

    February 17, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. mike

    When the media keeps slamming an issue and crying over immigration reform over a 2 year period, those people that only listen to the media will start going along with that opinion. That is what the liberal media has historically done to change the social aspects of controversial issues. It's not that people actually believe what they are saying, they've been brain washed and are not intelligent enough to figure out that the media is lying to them.

    February 17, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -it must be said

    I wonder why other countries have these same problems? Why don't other countries have 20-30 MILLION illegal people in their countries, all collecting public benefits, being given drivers licenses, etc? Oh yeah, they have immigration laws that they actually enforce. When they find somebody in their country illegally, they are jailed and/or deported. Many countries have very harsh immigration laws with severe penalties for violators.

    Without securing our borders, how can this ever be stopped? Without strict enforcement of all of the laws, how can this ever be stopped? Democrats have no intention of backing either secure borders and strict enforcement, including deportation. Even after this mythical 'comprehensive reform'.
    *****************************
    Other countries don't offer the promise of this country, either. Other countries have been invaded with actual armies: the last time that happened here was 2 centuries ago. And other countries are willing to apy for the cost of securing their borders, as well as other things. You probably would call them either socialist, dictatorships, or both. Is that what you want? Interesting how people who are screaming about the new friend ( civil liberties) do a 180 when the subject of illegals comes up. Our situation is unique, and requires a unique solution that goes beyond a fence, fines, deportation, and xenophobia.

    February 17, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. Harold Read

    Here's an idea...
    Follow and enforce established US Law.
    US Code 8 Section 1325.

    February 17, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. just asking

    The Real Tom Paine
    So, the US Chamber of Commerce, that bastion of leftist sentiment, is what is behind the Sanctuary cities? Who woulda thunk it?
    -–

    ahhhhh nobody but you and your very strange mind. the chamber of commerce does not run cities that allow illegals to come and live without fear of arrest or deportation. where do you get your nonsense anyways?

    February 17, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. CALIFORNIA

    Democrats want nothing short of world amnesty.

    February 17, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. Vence

    These are good news for republicans!

    February 17, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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