July 26th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
13 years ago

CNN Poll: One in four angry over illegal immigration

Washington (CNN) - Only a quarter of Americans are angry about the number of illegal immigrants in the country, according to a new national poll. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that nearly three-fourths of the public are dissatisfied on the same issue.

Twenty-three percent of people questioned in the poll say they are angry, with 51 percent adding they are dissatisfied, one in five saying they are satisfied on the issue and six percent saying pleased."

Full results [pdf]

"Anger is highest among blue-collar white men," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Thirty-seven percent of white men with no college degree say they are angry about illegal immigration. That figure drops to 27 percent among white women with no college degree, and to 15 percent among whites who graduated from college."

The poll's Monday release comes three days before the scheduled implementation of a new tough and controversial immigration law in Arizona. The measure, signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in April, requires police to question people about their status if they have been detained for another reason and if there is reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them.

Critics have said the law will promote racial profiling. Supporters of the bill say its aim is only to enforce federal law.

Is there a racist overtone to the immigration debate?

"Most Americans don't think so, and most Hispanics share that view," says Holland. "Overall only 20 percent of all Americans think that people who favor tough laws against illegal immigrants do so because they dislike Hispanics; among Hispanics, that number rises to 34 percent, but a majority of Hispanics believe that the supporters of tough new laws are motivated more by concerns over economic conditions and law enforcement issues."

While the survey indicates that a majority of all Americans think that the main focus of U.S. policy should be to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and deport the ones that are already here, the poll suggests that whites and Hispanics disagree widely on immigration policy.

More than six in ten Hispanics say that the main focus of U.S. policy should be on stopping the flow of illegal immigrants and deporting those who are already here. Seven in ten whites say that the main focus should be on developing plans to allow illegal immigrants who hold jobs to become legal residents of the U.S. According to the survey, African-Americans are split right down the middle on that question.

The poll also suggests a partisan divide, with a majority of Democrats saying that plans to allow some illegal immigrants to become legal residents should be the top priority for the government, with a majority of independents and a vast majority of Republicans saying that stopping the flow of illegal immigration should be the main focus.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted July 16-21, with 1,018 adult Americans questioned by telephone, including a special sample of 308 black and 303 Hispanic respondents. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN Polls • Immigration • issues
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. common sense

    OMG What part of illegal doesn't CNN, other news organazions and the immigrants themselves understand ? If the immigrants want to stay in this country then become legal citizens.

    July 26, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Eric

    Why NOT deport 14 million illegal aliens?
    Mexico does it.

    July 26, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. normajean

    Here we go again with the polls. Don't you people know that most of us give small credence to your poll figures? You continue day after day spouting figures about every thing going on in the country even though we all tell you, we have never been polled, family and friends have never been polled,. I have never been asked my opinion{except by family} on any political or national subject. WHERE DO YOU GET THE PHONY FIGURES? IT SURELY IS NOT FROM THER VOTERS.

    July 26, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Tim

    Angry and dissatisfied are the exact same things, just different degrees. So what your headline meant to say was that 74% of the respondents are angry.

    Did you concentrate in hulla-hoops or merry-go-rounds in college? You've taken the unspinnable and attempted to spin it, but all you have done is made people laugh out loud at your bias.

    July 26, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    Okay everybody. Pop Quiz time. There are typical GOP/Fox News 'spin' / 'distortion' tactics in play here under the blogs. Can you spot them? They are directly out of the neo-con's play book. (Hint: 2nd from the top)

    July 26, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Kris

    Illegal immigrants would not be crossing the borders if there were not US citizens and corporations hiring them for cheap labor. That is who we should be angry with. Not the people who are just trying to provide a better life for their families. They are being taken advantage of by corporations who would rather pay them pennies on the dollar instead of paying US citizens a decent wage.

    July 26, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Well CNN if 1/4 of Americans on a NATIONAL poll are angry with the illegal immigration issue, yet 3/4 of those that YOU poll on the same subject are angry, what does that show you? It's telling me that CNN has done a helluva job frothing up it's followers on this subject. Could this be attributed too your sensational headlines, or the divisive spin of your stories lately?

    I couldn't tell you for certain the answer to that, but I could take an educated guess....

    July 26, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. Mark

    "More than six in ten whites say ... Seven in ten whites say ..."

    Wait, what? This must be a misprint.

    July 26, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Tim

    It's not impossible to secure our borders and force out those who are here illegally, like AZ is doing. And at the same time, throw those in jail who are hiring illegals. And still at the same time, come up with a plan to allow those who are here making an honest living the opportunity to become legal.

    If it wasn't for the racial pandering, on both sides, this would be an easy fix.

    July 26, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. atypical

    And we don't want people to immigrate, because this is OUR country, right?

    Just like this was home to the native American Indians-before WE all immigrated, decimated and obliterated them.

    Why can't we see our double standards?

    July 26, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Ron in california

    Let's take one step at a time...Secure the borders,,,stp the human and drug trafficking. Fair minded Americans will find a solution. Hopefully under a Republican Congress.

    July 26, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    It is not impossible to deport the millions of illegals in the United States. It would save this country billions of dollars and send a strong message about crossing our borders illegally. It just takes enough people to complain about this problem.

    All illegals should be deported.

    July 26, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Layla

    Anyone else getting tired of Democrats and illegals trying to divide the country over this issue?

    Maybe it's time to draw a line in the sand and pick your side. The few have been running this country into the ground long enough.

    Nov. 2 = Vote. Tell Congress we want our borders secured. Tell them its time to begin prosecuting those who selectively pick and choose which laws in this country they will obey.

    Stop the election pandering and VOTE THEM OUT.

    July 26, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. DMS-AKA

    Doug...........Once again we see that if Americans vote their values, their honesty, their decency and fairness, they will be voting Republican.

    Americans reject the Democrat way of calling everyone a racist if they don't fully and blindly support the socialism of the current Administration. We reject their Democrat divide and conquer games, we support truth over Demo-lib lies!
    People only want to declare themselves Republicans as long as everything is rosey in their own backyard.......however let the shtttttttt hit the fan and their the 1st ones to look for social programs.........ex: Hurriacans victims want federal assistance, oil disaster people and small businesses- want federal assistance, housing mortg problems-federal gov't. assistance.....perfect ex.....Governor LA.....(BONEHEAD) didn't wnt stimlus money but has the nerve to critizes the Pres. for not reacting quick enough (its your state right....? then handle it) right (you want big gov't out of your pocket) right......(wrong) .............Repub are so busy trying to denied people of color assistance their forgetting that most of them fit the bill to receive public assistance or will in the near future.........POOR is POOR........stop being so stupid ALLOWING BIG BUSINESS TO MANIPULATE YOUR THINKING.

    July 26, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Donkey Party

    Doug wouldn't know values, honesty, decency and fairness if it kicked him in the teeth. Here's hoping that values, honesty, decency and fairness don't give up after the first kick.

    July 26, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Ben in Texas

    Corporations and the rich constantly manipulate the labor market. If they can export a job and make more money off foreign workers than they can off American workers, they export the American job. If they have a job here that can't be exported, because it involves backbreaking work in the U.S., they open those jobs to foreign laborers, creating an influx of undocumented workers.

    And then we get headlines from CNN about whether asking (oh, so politely) for the rich to pay their fair share might lead to more problems in the economy. I, for one, am ready to take off the kid gloves when it comes to corporations and the rich. Tax them back to the Stone Age! Who gives a rat's patootie if they don't like it? What could they do to the economy that they have not already done, while raking in billions?

    July 26, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. ruty

    Plain and simple! If you are here illegally –go to jail. You broke the law–go to jail. Why are we so tolerent of these people.? They are breaking the law. Send them packing.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 26, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. theaverageguy

    Most Americans do not opose immigration. They oppose "illegal" immigration.

    As has been stated already, the solution is to enforce the laws to include prosecuting employers who knowingly violate the law. We even have the resources currently available. For example:

    Obama just doubled the size of the Department of Labor, so why doesn't he use them? It's simple...the law already stipulates the completion of an I-9 form for all workers. George Bush put "E-Verify" into place as a database for use by all employers but Obama suspended its use as a requirement. Many "high integrity" business continue to use it with success. Why not require its use by all employers? These are the questions people should ask.

    July 26, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. T'SAH from Virginia

    Immigration has always been a problem from the beginning of SOME PEOPLE's time. How many President's were FORCED to handle it in the past???? AZ should have passed that BOGUS hateful bill during BUSH's presidency!!! Oh, but that would mean BUSH would have been forced to take care of Immigration Reform!!

    The 'new' Immigration law was passed in AZ NOW because they wanted President Obama to handle it another TACTIC to pile on everything else they say NO to so he can FAIL!!!!!

    It's all going to BACKFIRE and the RepubliCAN'Ts will suffer in the long run because President Obama will handle it!!!

    July 26, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. yankees74

    20 – 30mil unemployed. They say it is 11mil illegals. More like 20mil. Ship them back to Mexico. Take the money that they recieve for public services, medical, etc. And you have more than enough to ship them off. ILLEGALS are a cancer. I work in a factory and work with many hispanics and go have a beer after work from time to time with them. So you Dems, don't go crying racist on me, as that seems to be the popular thing amongst you now.

    July 26, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. RH

    All illegal immigrants, whether Canadian, Mexican, or Swedish should be deported immediately. Moreover, none of them should be eligible to apply for legal US residency after being repatriated since it's already been demonstrated that they have no respect for the laws and borders of the United States.

    July 26, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. hobart

    >Americans reject the Democrat way of calling everyone a racist if they don't fully and blindly support the socialism of the current Administration. We reject their Democrat divide and conquer games, we support truth over Demo-lib lies!

    More demonstrably false off topic lies that have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic. Apparently you find America so imperfect that you violate the 9th commandment at each and every opportunity.

    >It's VERY SIMPLE. You either have borders and laws and you enforce them for the good and security of the entire nation. OR you repeal the laws and declare the USA a sanctuary country open to anybody that walks to walk across it's unsecured borders.

    If it's so VERY SIMPLE, why were the borders not sealed and the laws enforced during the Bush Administration? Because, big business, your real base, depends on cheap labor. If it's so VERY SIMPLE, tell us how much it will cost to seal the border, post an army there, and to deport millions of illegals. If it's so VERY SIMPLE, tell us how you'll pay for it. If it's so VERY SIMPLE, tell us why it's OK to run up record deficits spending money on this, but not to give healthcare to all Americans. Do tell us, why do you hate America?

    As to the topic, I don't get how 1 in 4 being angry with illegal immigration jibes with a majority supporting Arizona's law? Is it how the questions are being asked?

    July 26, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. Back2Basics

    Oh....come on. If you are illegal...you shouldn't be here. What excuse can you possibly say that would make crossing our borders illegally, paying no taxes, and taking advantage of our goodwill could make it right. You should go back to youro wn country and work to make your country 1/2 as good as ours......used to be. But....if we get rid of all the illegals...less crowded schools, no "press1 for English", less waiting time in the hospitals, less taxes, and more $$$ for Americans that really need it. Help make the USA great again. I was in a 3rd world country, stopped a few times to show my passport. Never once did I think I was racially profiled. I had my papers in order. They should too.

    July 26, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    Illegal immigration is reverse-outsourcing. If you can't afford to close up shop and ship your business overseas or don't possess a business that works in a manner amenable to screwing American laborers out of jobs by that method (i.e., manufacturers for the most part), just import the third-world slave labor! It's that simple! Now you too can have a business free from unionized labor or those pesky, demanding blue-collar middle-class Americans with their silly demands of minimum wages, health and retirement benefits, and...*gasp*...annual raises to adjust, at the very least, for inflation and the increase in the CPI. Screw those greedy paeons!

    Stop it on the corporate side and it'll attenuate right quick. Will the GOP cotton to harming their corporate masters' profit margins by forcing them to bother hiring Americans? No. And they will hide it behind conspiracy theory BS about the Dems simply seeking immigration reform to "buy 12 million votes" through amnesty...all without wasting a single breath on setting forth a rational, comprehensive alternative solution that "sends them all home" without spending a couple trillion dollars and enacting investigation and enforcement laws that threaten the rights of full-blown citizens. You see, why would they actually want to get rid of them? THEY DON'T. They're a terrific source of cheap labor for giant corporations and a wonderful source of conservative wedge issues. The GOP pretends to want them gone, but really wants status quo...guaranteed.

    July 26, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. Derp

    They just need to reform the immigration process so that it takes a day instead of months. Like it was when Ellis Island was operational. It should be no different today than it was back then. Bam, you're in. Bam, you're in. Criminal record? Sorry.

    July 26, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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