May 4th, 2010
10:54 AM ET
13 years ago

Poll: Majority support Arizona immigration law, with reservations

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans support Arizona's tough new immigration law, even though most of them think it could lead to racial profiling, according to a new national poll. A CBS/New York Times survey released Tuesday also indicates that Americans overwhelming believe that the country's immigration laws need to be changed.

Fifty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say the new legislation, which Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law on April 23, is about right, with another nine percent saying it doesn't go far enough and 36 percent saying it goes too far in its scope. But more than eight in ten questioned say its very or somewhat likely that the new law will lead to police officers detaining people of certain racial or ethnic groups more frequently than other racial or ethnic groups.

The new Arizona law requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there is reason to suspect they are in the United States illegally. The measure also makes it a state crime to live in or travel through Arizona illegally.

The law has ignited protests in the state and across the country and some are urging economic boycotts of Arizona. Supporters say the law is needed to confront rising problems involving illegal immigrants in Arizona, particularly those with criminal records.

A Gallup poll released last week showed similar public attitudes: nearly four in ten Americans supported the new law, with three in ten opposed, and 31 percent saying they had not heard of the new law at the time, or had no opinion.

According to the CBS/New York Times survey, eight in ten think it is somewhat or very likely that the new measure will deter immigrants from reporting crime or cooperating with authorities out of fear of being deported. Nearly eight in ten questioned say it's somewhat or very likely that the new law will burden the resources of state and local police departments.

But nearly three out of four Americans believe that it is likely the new law will lead to a reduction in the number of illegal immigrants currently in Arizona, and nearly seven in ten say it is likely the measure will deter people from other countries from illegally crossing the border into the state.

The poll indicates that 44 percent of the public believe the nation's immigration policy should be completely rebuilt, with another 45 percent saying fundamental changes are needed. Nearly two-thirds of those questioned say the issue of illegal immigration is a serious problem for the country, while another 24 percent say it's a somewhat serious problem.

The survey suggests that Americans are more divided on what to do: 44 percent support keeping legal immigration at its current level, just over three in ten support decreasing the level, and 17 percent call for an increase.

The CBS/New York Times poll was conducted April 28-May 2, with 1,079 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • Popular Posts
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Nellie Bly

    Arizona was part of Mexico until 1853 so Spanish was the native language spoken along with the native american tribes. It should be no suprise to hear and see tan people speaking Spanish on the streets. Yuma, Sierra Vista, Casa Grande, Mesa, all cities in Arizona. Not exaclty names like Springfield or Pleasant Valley. The outrage isn't about the rights of illegal immigrants but the clear possibility that citizens will be harrassed merely based on their skin color. This includes my in-laws. People who built Tucson's public schools, tended Reid Park golf course, guard the AZ/Mexico border as US border patrol agents. This bill will succeed in doing is driving the illegals from AZ to neighboring states and the racial profiling of US citizens. This does not solve illegal immigration.

    May 4, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Not only support the AZ law, but want to see it passed in every state in the union.

    While Washington sits on their hands, let the states address the problem, and let the illegals know, the free ride is over.

    May 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Hammerer

    If majority rules in America put amnesty for illegals on the ballot in Nov. and let the citizens decide.

    May 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Hugo

    Go Arizona, Great JOB! About time for our Government to start taking care of US citizens Constitutional rights in front of anyone else! $20,000/year of taxpayer monies for every illegal family in the US, who is protecting our Constitutional rights on where and how our tax monies are given away to support illegal activities, Dems, Repubs, anyone?

    Remember in November !

    May 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Tony in LA

    if the illegals don't like it, THEN, THEY SHOULD GO BACK HOME. THIS IS OUR COUNTRY NOT THERE'S!!!!

    May 4, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. Stewart - Las Vegas

    The CBS/New York Times poll was conducted April 28-May 2, with 1,079 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

    And, how does this equate to the MAJORITY ?

    Stop with the misleading headlines!

    "The most trusted name in news" Hog wash!

    Paul Steinhauser is a phony journalist.

    May 4, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. JR

    If you lived in Arzona, you would realize the issue we face, and the expense we face, with illegal aliens. Most crimes you see on TV, and most accidents are caused by illigals in this state. Since they typically do not carry identification, they get a ticket and never have to pay it. They use our emergency rooms and never have to pay. They commit crimes and get out and never show up for court. Now, when these people are stopped for some "known" reason, they will not get off the hook for their behavior. We citizens have to pay for this behavior in our car insurances, in our medical expenses, in our crime victims, etc.. This does not give police an open card to stop any mexican and ask for their papers. It only allows them to ask for their papers once they have been stopped for a known reason as any person would be. They do not pay taxes, buy car insurance, regester their vehicles, or pay for their medical. The rest of the true citizens in the state pay for all of this on their behalf. We need it to stop NOW.

    May 4, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Pam

    There is no 'maybe' about it!
    What, besides racial profiling, can the police use to indicate that the car driving down the road may contain illegal immigrants?
    Absolutely nothing!

    May 4, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    No, it is the majority of those polled, not the majority of Americans who support this law. There's a huge difference CNN.

    May 4, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Brian Phoenix AZ

    And just what is so bad about having to carry their alien registration documents? Federal law requires it. Oh that's right they don't have any.
    As AZ has about 460,000 illegals living here and I'd bet 98% of them are from "south of the border" I seriosly doubt that the "racial profiling" card will play well.

    May 4, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Brenda

    This now makes 3 national polls showing that the MAJORITY in the country support Arizona and its new law--Rasmussen, Gallup, and CBS.

    And, these polls were taken before the illegals had their protests/tantrums throughout our country again this past weekend.

    If they would have taken these polls after this past weekend--it would show the support for Arizona's law to be even higher.

    The majority in this country do not want any amnesty/rewards/accommodations for illegals. The majority wants the border closed/secured, the laws enforced, and the illegals arrested/deported.

    May 4, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. T'SAH from Virginia

    Okay, it was 70% of Arizonians who were for the bill. Now it's 51 percent of Americans who are for the bill. But then over 80% of ALL questioned says the bill is not right because it will involve 'racial profiling of certain ethnic groups'?? So how many Americans are really FOR IT when the main concern of the bill is 'racial profiling'??

    Once again, the polls with the FUZZY NUMBERS – curved to satisfy whomever CNN wants to appease for the moment!!!

    May 4, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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