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. GoldMember

    Doug: There you go again improperly using the term "Socailist"

    Google is your best friend

    July 26, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. America's "real" Three Stooges; Boehner, Cantor, and Mitch Mcconnell

    Immigration will soon be comprehensive, as it should be. Republican's, under the direction of the three stooges, believe in smaller Government that should stay out of state affairs. Yet, they demand bigger Government involvement in state affirs over immigration.
    The State never had the right to suprecede a flawed federal immigration policy the Bush admistration and Mccain never legislated with an even more flawed immigration policy of their own. It's funny how Republican's quietly do nothing with comprehensive immigration reform when in office.....but demand it immediately when Democrats are in office. Republican's are a fraud.....now known as, Refiblican's...

    July 26, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. what a joke

    What is so wrong with asking folks to carry a passport if they are legally in this country are we not ask to do the same when we visit other countries including Mexico? Illegal is illegal no matter what country you are in and you should not get the same rights of the natives that is the world wide standard and why should the illegals in this country be the exception to the rule?

    July 26, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Dean

    Anonymous July 26th, 2010 12:46 pm ET

    It is impossible to deport 10 million illegal immagrants,
    You don't have to deport them. Quit giving them jobs, welfare, food stamps, free telephones, free medical care and they will go home.

    July 26, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. chris

    Pay no attention to the *rich white republican* behind the illegal immigration bogeyman...let's just blame hard working Mexicans who come here to work for them. It's stunning how selectively blind the morons on the right can be.

    July 26, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Marcus

    doug – July 26th, 2010 12:47 pm ET
    Your post can and will be used as a proof of delusional paranoid tantrum. You can't divide the country in 'US' and 'them' and be taken seriously, unless you want to create a country for the 'US' and another for the 'them'. There's ethical and moral problems within the Democrats? Yes, just like there is among Republicans and Independents. To claim that if somebody wants to vote 'vote their values, their honesty, their decency and fairness' his/her ONLY option is what you BELIEVE that is the right one.
    Democracies DON'T work that way dude. And as for this part 'We reject their Democrat divide and conquer games, we support truth over Demo-lib lies!'... Pot calling the kettle!!!!

    July 26, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Once again the politicians are using the vulnerable to win elections. Brewer is just appeasing her constituency and her racist backing. This is profiling to it's core and no we should not trust law enforcement to make those decisions. Bottom line is multiple employer in Arizona are complaining that the legals don't apply for the jobs they provide and yet the legals complain about illegals taking their jobs. B.S!! So the employers are mainly forced to hire illegals because the legals are lazy, slow and feel entitled. Simple as that.

    And don't forget the main problem is Wall Street, they are the ones taking your jobs and tax money, and getting away with it. Wake up!!

    July 26, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Ryan

    "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."

    What class makes up the 6% who are pleased? The illegal immigrants? This article is stupid. Why does everyone think only Hispanics are illegal immigrants? I think America in general is angry about illegal immigrants no matter their NATIONALITY. Deport all the illegals, Germans, Mexicans, Russians, Chinese, French... If you are illegal you are breaking the law.

    July 26, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. TestaD

    How about blaming the REAL culprits – the people who run and have run the Mexican government! Mexico has a wealth of natural resources, but can't seem to get anything productive done without help (read $$) from the U.S. They do not take care of their people; they do not educate vast segments of the population or ensure that their poor are house, fed and clothed. But their tradition of graft, corruption and incompetence continues to ensure that the "haves" get wealthier at the expense of the "have-nots." Why doesn't the mainstream media cover all the reasons why Latin Americans break up their families, leave their roots and commit crimes to illegally enter and remain in the U.S.? Why are there no polls about how Mexicans and those of Mexican heritage both here and in Mexico feel about the Mexican government and who they feel is responsible for the condition of that country? And why no polls about why illegal aliens feel justified in violating our laws?

    July 26, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. Patriot

    Take it from me,as I live in Mexico, if you are an illegal there you WILL be deported sooner or later. If you want to live there wthout any hassle, just get your FM3 or whatever document you need to be LEGAL there. They profile! If you are caught trying to sneak into their country after being deported once, you are subject to 10 years in jail. America should just adopt the partsof the Mexican Constitution that pertains to immigration, and enforce them. Their immigration laws are comprehensive and fair, and are there to protect the Republic of Mexico. I have lived here, off and on for 31 years, and have never had any problem with showing my papers to law enforcement or immigration people. We need to just get over thebull crap and enforce OUR laws.

    July 26, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Dave

    One over four angry on immigration, one in three about employment, one in five about ignoring terror threat and hiding behind political correctness, two in three oppose the health care reform as signed (not healthcare reform in general), one four think the wars have been mismanaged. In the previous administration the media used to accumulate all problems and showed the president got about 20% approval rate, now the overall approval rate is obfuscated by willing pollsters.

    July 26, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Dang


    Why is the polls focused on WHITE MEN? Have you not gotten the picture from last two weeks in regards to the NAACP. This is a biast article. Director Paul Steinhauser you are a racist.

    July 26, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. XWngLady

    "Overall only 20 percent of all Americans think that people who favor tough laws against illegal immigrants do so because they dislike Hispanics"

    Then the other 80% of Americans are stupid....because if all of a sudden we had an influx of illegal immigrants from Finland, Sweden, Ireland or Italy, no one would say squat! AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT BUT DON'T HAVE THE GUTS TO SAY IT!

    July 26, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Mckyle

    In this case, it truly is racist, and unfortunately, that's a good thing. We don't have a bunch of Africans, Norwegians, Chinese, or Hindus illegally sneaking over from Mexico. There is no choice but to profile to intercept those who are here illegally, since believe it or not, it's illegal to be here illegally. It doesn't make any sense for federal or Arizona cops to question all the Chinese or Russians they stop for traffic violations near the Mexican border. It does make sense to question the non-English speaking Mexicans as to whether or not they are here illegally.

    This is not rocket science. The key word here is ILLEGAL. For those who don't understand this word, here's the definition: "forbidden by law or statute" – that means if we have a rule against it in our federal or state governments, and a person takes action that violates that rule, they have done something illegal and are subject to the penalties provided in the law.

    In this case, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT is defined as an alien (non-citizen – a very specific status) who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa. See, so it's not all that complicated – it's a 5-step process. 1) A person is either an immigrant or not, and 2) If the person is not an immigrant, forget it, but 3) If they are an immigrant, then, 4) if the person is here legally, send them on their way, or 5) send them home.

    July 26, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. jacobust

    You have got to be kidding me!!! Look at the headline and then look at the stats. If this was an article on Fox or Glenn Beck, it would read "Almost 75% are angry or dissatisfied". Because the topic is near and dear to the current administration, CNN puts positive spin on it. The bias here is a disgrace to journalism. This is supposed to be a news piece, not an editorial.

    July 26, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. BB

    The "Capatilized" Business Owners helped most of the Illegals get here for the past 30 years, they even hired truckers to pick up truckloads a few miles from the borders and took these people and delivered them all over the country so they could put them to work for next to no money and treated them inhumane, all the while putting Americans out of work while their pay increased by the Billions, (see...they were "capatilizing" in their market...living the good life with no responsibility for their country), now the people who lost jobs are complaining??? Please!!!
    The problem could be fixed only IF businesses that have illegals working for them are shut down, business owners arrested and Jailed and lose all their tax write offs, illegals deported, not jailed in our system/country, not given any kind of government aide. If Americans want to help illegal families, that's their deal. But the Government should not help illegals.
    Then we should also bring back the Tarriff tax on everything made outside of our Country, watch how fast jobs would come back. It would blow people away to what they would witness with job creation!!! The Republicans took that away from us too. So so sad!

    July 26, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    "Don't blame the illegals." The poll isn't blaming them. They questions asked whether people were angry about illegal immigration - not whether they were angry at the immigrants themselves.

    July 26, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. Twist

    So basically its as the left has always said. The people here screaming that immigrants take their jobs are the people who are wasting the opportunity that america gives them. They know they've done nothing to earn their place and they're afraid of anything that might rock the boat that gives them billions in lifetime welfare benefits.

    July 26, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Brian in ME

    The reality is that this is a regional issue, not a national one. Anger among one in four is about right, most of America remains unaffected by this, and more interested in other issues

    July 26, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Sandy123

    Really, "Only a quarter of Americans are angry about the number of illegal immigrants?" Were was the survey taken in the White House, and by Obama's cohorts? You can't hide the fact that our country is in danger from terrorists who enter.
    It has documented that 42 from Iran, and Iraq, Sudan and Yemen, Egypt and Pakistan etc.... This is putting our National Security at risk as no one is monitoring who is coming in.
    How brillant, we have a fantastic security system at the Airports, but for some idiotic reason Barack Hussein Obama what's to leave our borders wide open! Does he want to put up big 'Welcome' signs?

    July 26, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. John

    What's simple is that 75% of Americans ARE NOT angry about iliegal immigration.
    Three-fourths of the American people are concerned with this issue, but are far from angry with it. The sense lies in the ability to ignore and block out the shrill xenophobic cries of the far-right.
    Whenever I start losing faith that we are headed in the wrong direction, the American people step up to the plate to suport logic and fairness.

    July 26, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Tom from Canonsburg

    Actually I'm pretty ticked off about illegals being here. I also have a lot of Hispanic friends. Most of which have the same opinion as myself and that is that if I break the law I go to jail or get fined. Why aren't the illegals? I know that If we had to live under the BS that they did eslewhere, we'd be trying to get to a better place. BUT somehow they need to do it legally. My Canadien friends are ticked off because they went through the system and it took a long time. Giving the Hispanics a shortcut is not fair to all the others. The southern border is being used by our enemies to enter, so it needs closed & sealed for a while.

    July 26, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Denny

    We do not need to deport them. We do not need to incarcerate them. We just need to put an immediate stop to all entitlements for illegals and they will deport themselves back to where they came from. No more health care, no more schools, no more anchor babies, no more housing. Fine the employers of illegals. In one or two years the majority will be gone. Simple.
    Do our leaders have the will to do it? If we tell them loudly, they will.

    July 26, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. Bella

    Hope they pass this immigration law, the world needs peace, we are all 1 planet, we are all people, no matter your nationality, color, language, etc. I've traveled all around the world and It makes me sad to see hate in my country!

    July 26, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. mike

    As a "white male college graduate" I would like to stand with my "uneducated" brothers that are tired of paying for the feeding,housing, educating and caring for FELONS that cannot respect another country's most basic laws.

    July 26, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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