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. BB

    This new poll shows that 60%(51% + 9%) simply shows that Americans do not understand the basics of the Constitution. The 4th Amendment spells out "Probable Cause" as the correct threshold NOT "reasonable/arguable suspicion". Asking for ID isn't just for traffic stops as the media keeps pushing. You can be asked for your ID while getting your mail in your robe if your mailbox is facing a public sidewalk!!
    I guess equality for some but not all is good enough for the 60% who support or don't think this law goes far enough.
    I appreciate the problems the borders states face and border security must be addressed. BUT, this law will be shot down long before it goes into effect.

    May 4, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Wisconsinite

    Count me among the 36% (since I never get called to be polled!) that think the law goes too far. I know that immigration reform needs to be addressed on a national level and I know that NEITHER party has done that. The ends, however, do not justify the means. It isn't so much the illegals' rights that I'm concerned about, it's the LEGAL Hispanic citizens of AZ who are going to be harassed and made to prove over and over that they are, indeed, LEGAL citizens! In this great country, that is simply and absolutely WRONG!

    May 4, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. Willy Brown

    American citizens support the law with no reservations CNN... Only wish Congress would enforce the immigrations laws on the books now vice trying to get votes from the illegal aliens!

    May 4, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. reeba

    In reality, it is 60% in favor of the AZ law.
    Do the math:

    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....... 51 + 9 = 60

    May 4, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Aubrie

    There.... the people have spoken. Any more questions?

    May 4, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. grr

    I have to say, that I do agree with this, but also with reservations. In particular, I am concerned about the possibility of this being used in a racial fashion, and I would say that it did not go far enough. Obviously, we need all ppl to be checked at stops, as well as all calls to the police, excluding witnesses and victims. But I am surprised that this did not add several other things:
    1) greater punishment for those that hire illegals, in particular, legal repercussions against said ppl.

    2) in any medical treatment, where there is no insurance, then police should be called to check their IDs, with the exception of for children (under 18).
    3) in any gov service, that deals with 18 and above, then police are called for all those without proper ID.

    I strongly suggest that Az set up a DB that allows somebody who grew up in America and has legal records of such, that they can get an exemption to these situation. The reason is that if they were brought here as children, then they are a victim and are innocent. While I am opposed to general amnesty to any adult that came across illegally, those that grew up here should be allowed to obtain citizenship with doing some nation service (military, vista, peace corp).

    May 4, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. IBMMuseum

    So across the board, 4 out of 5 of poll responders say it will lead to racial profiling, prevent crime victims and witnesses working with police, and burden resources of state and local police untrained in immigration matters...

    The Arizona Governor calls it good legislation from the beginning, but amends the bill a few days after signing to qualm fears of racial profiling...

    Why is this bill then being supported as any ends justifies the means?...

    May 4, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. Bob in PA

    "Arizona law requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times"

    And what does Fereral law require ?
    Oh gee, the same thing !

    May 4, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. Dave

    Of course the majority support. If nothing else it is the principle of the matter. The most BASIC job of the federal government is to protect and secure the borders. They have failed for decades. Congress refuses to act, no matter who is in charge, so Arizona took it upon itself. Good for them.

    May 4, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |

    I have no reservations. This is the only state in the NATION that is standing up for state rights. Wait until you have a Governor like PERRY who will set on his thumb and do nothing for he will lose votes. Coward.

    May 4, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. once upon a horse

    I think that most people like myself feel that illegal immigration needs to be put into check if not ended altogether. It is a problem no doubt with cost involved and the drug crimes going on in the border the states. The only problem I have with the bill is the possibility of profiling and innocent people being detained for something they have not done. It has happened to me in the past for being the "wrong" color in the "wrong" area and it can be an embarrassment. In fact they really don't know HOW to classify an I.A because of what they may look like. Just think about this.....your average serial killers have been WHITE MALES that appear to fit into society unnoticed...BTK, JW Gacy, Ted Bundy et al so imagine if they would pull all that fit into that catagory if they were hunting a serial killer. I'm sure law enforcement would not do something like that although it's almost the same argument if they were to do so.

    May 4, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Here in Massachusetts, we have a seatbelt law. If you get pulled over and are not wearing a seatbelt, you can get a ticket.

    HOWEVER, the police cannot pull you over for simply not wearing a seatbelt. There has to have been a primary offense.

    The Arizona law is the same in that respect.

    May 4, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. John D

    Illeagal is Illegall! I've been saying this for years and have written my state and federal delegates on the matter on numerous occasions to no avail. Arizona has done the right thing and pushed this into the limelight. Our government is suppose to serve and protect America not command and defy the people! Send all these people packing. Where is all the media coverage on these blatantly obvious rowdy and destructive demonstrations. They sure were quick to decry the tea party rallies.

    May 4, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Anonymous

    My concern is that if the border is that porous, who else is getting across? Hispanics is one thing, international terrorists is another.

    May 4, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. ricbab

    I have been stopped a number of time by "check points" in New jersey to make sure I had a licence and insurance, .no harm done and I am happy to live where the authorities are inforcing the law !

    May 4, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. John

    It does not go far enough!

    May 4, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Terry from West Texas

    All of my relatives from East Texas are dairy farmers. They all support the Arizona law and they all think there are too many illegal aliens in Texas.

    They all use illegal aliens to milk their cows and do farm chores. around the place 365 days a year.

    May 4, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Dale

    If the STUPID FERDERAL GOVERNMENT had been doing THEIR JOBS "Upholding the current law" we would have NO PROBLEM.

    So you BLEEDING HEART liberals should just CAN IT.

    I'm SO SICK about hearing Racial profiling – WHAT A CROCK

    Law enforcement has been trained to profile – Have you not ever heard the term "They fit the profile" ???

    How dumb are you people. It's life! I personally don't mind being profiled. If it's for the sake of safety or breaking the law.

    Airlines on international fights carefully check passports, is that profiling? Please move to another country.

    May 4, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. j

    Sounds good, but who`s going to work for $5/ hr or less when all the illegals are gone? Who`s to mow the grass and be a nanny to the wealthy kids??

    May 4, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Seattle Sue

    I would hate to be an American/Mexican living in Arizona.

    May 4, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Generation Mugwump

    I find it perplexed yet quite disturbing the many inaccuracies this bill is being portrayed. Whether is in theory or not, I just think that people need to chill and see whether it does lead to racial profiling. And that's when the lawsuits will come and the one attributing it will face the burden, maybe even state.

    I do believe a state of reactance(Reactance Theory) has been occurring for quite a long time, maybe since the election. And with the implementation of this bill intact and sign, it probably makes the case more accurate. But in my honest opinion, I don't think Illegal Immgration should be reform just yet. If states feel obligated to do something, then they do have a right but if otherwise, the federal government is just too slow to see the realization of what problems our country is facing.

    May 4, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. donna

    This poll shows again how some DC insiders are out of touch with how americans feel about the illegal immigration situation. This state did what is needed given the lack of any federal action. Protests in San Fran and NY by hispanics do not speak for the majority of american people even though the protests get all the mainstream media attention......

    May 4, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Dave Harris

    It would be a lot easier to just require legal residents, including citizens, to carry proof of citizenship at all times. Then the cops can just arrest anyone who doesn't have it. I know, I know, but most adults carry ID with them all of the time anyway. To make it more efficient you could carry one of those RFID chips and the cops could just walk around scanning us.

    May 4, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. Rickster

    1. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.
    2. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens.
    3. 30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.
    4. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers.
    5. During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border also, as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from Terrorist Countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana, crossed into the US from the Southern border.

    The total cost is a whopping $ 338.3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.

    May 4, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. Marc

    So most of the Americans agrees that this law will lead to racial profiling and to the illegal immigrants no longer cooperating with the police (I know that it is something very rare to happen but it does happens, rarely as it is, today)... but they are still OK with the law?
    Isn't it a bit paradoxal?

    May 4, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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