July 28th, 2010
02:05 PM ET
13 years ago

CNN Poll: 'Melting Pot' weakening country?


 A new CNN poll reveals how Americans feel about immigrants. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - A new poll indicates Americans have complicated views towards immigrants.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey, the vast majority believe that most immigrants are basically good, honest people who are hard-working. However, nearly seven in ten say that immigrants are a burden on the taxpayer, 62 percent think they add to the crime problem, and 59 percent believe they take jobs away from Americans.

The poll, released Wednesday, asks about all people who have immigrated from other countries in the past ten years, and not just about illegal immigrants in the U.S.

"The results may explain why most Americans think that the policies that made the U.S. a 'melting pot' strengthened the country a century ago but do not make the country stronger today," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Taking the "melting pot" metaphor a bit further, do Americans think that immigrants should maintain their own culture, or blend into the existing culture in this country?

"Two-thirds of whites say that immigrants should give up some important aspects of their culture to blend in; only about four in ten Hispanics, and an equal number of blacks, agree with that view," adds Holland.

And what about the "American Dream" that attracts so many immigrants to this country?

According to the survey, 45 percent of whites say that have achieved the American Dream, compared to 38 percent of Hispanics and only 23 percent of blacks. Roughly one in five of each racial group says they will never achieve the American Dream.

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 • Popular Posts
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. JonDie

    The poll results clearly show that most Americans are feeble-minded.

    What is weakening the country are the unpatriotic, undemocratic and often racist views of the Republican-Tea Party, which thinks that:

    a) only a few mostly white people should be rich and should receive government and health care services and,

    b) these same rich people who receive services should get such services for free.

    July 28, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Ron in california

    I think it is time to shut the door on immigration. Our country is becoming overcorwded and financially strapped de in part to both legal and illegal immigration. Additionally, the idea behind immigration was to live the American dream and assimilate. Assimilation is not happening. Rather, immigrants continue to isolate themselves and as a result many are suspicious or distrustful of them. Many immigrants are good people but in their midst are the folks who are causing devisiveness. Let's just shut the door for now.

    July 28, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Simon/Orlando

    The reason it's not getting stronger today is that most immigrants from south of the border don't want to follow the rules to become citizens and don't want to learn the language. They are also bringing a great deal of crime with them.

    July 28, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. Cold Truth

    This isn't about "immigrants" in general. This is about the thirty year tidal wave of immigrants, most illegal, from Mexico. When you wake up one day, walk around your home town and notice that half the street signs are in spanish, the McDonalds worker doesn't speak english, nor does the bank clerk, the buildings are covered with graffiti from mexican gangs and the schools have dropped half their curriculum so they can teach math and science in spanish, you start to wonder about immigration as an institution. But this isn't the problem. It's immigrants from Mexico that are the problem and no, it's not a hispanic race thing, it's a Mexico thing.

    July 28, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. vic

    Lot of wrong information out there many illegal immigrants pay their income tax but they don’t do tax return because they can’t claim . If their kids born here they file for tax return they don’t get full claim.

    Some American job taken by illegal immigrants in construction, landscaping because cheap labor we have to blame employers who hiring illegal immigrants

    Many immigrants invest their money in small business gas station , motels fast food restaurants , car dealers etc we can see around the country

    Send criminals back allow hard working immigrants to stay here

    July 28, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Bertina

    It's purely reactionary racism at its best when we are all immigrants or children of immigrants unless we are native american.

    July 28, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Deporting illegal immigrants will never happen. Our corporate masters will make sure of that. If there's one thing they like, it's dirt cheap labor that can't organize or even complain. Just ask Ronny Rayguns, who signed off on amnesty for millions of illegals. Have a nice day!

    July 28, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. janetlaw

    This country is incredibly xenophobic. U.S. citizens never listen to or see world-wide news ('cause we can't get it on most TV stations!), have no intelligence about other countries histories, have never been outside THIS country and are incredibly close-minded about "those" immigrants. THIS is why they feel this way. And they TOTALLY don't get that the only true non-immigrants in this country are the Native Americans. WE ARE ALL IMMIGRANTS! Open your eyes and learn about other world-citizens!

    July 28, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. carlos

    and 59 percent believe they take jobs away from Americans.........who are they kidding????? those americans do not want those jobs because, as they say, it is beneath them, stop that stupidity and then think, who is going to pick up those strawberries, lettuces, tomatoes, radishes, all your fruits and vegetables????..WHO?????, please tell us......dumbasses without an argument

    July 28, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. jim

    We are the only country in the world that does not secure our borders.This is shameful !!! We have a process in place for people who want to come here legally and become citizens.You may or may not like it and if you don't than work to change it. But don't reward these people simply because they jumped the line and circumvented our laws.

    July 28, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Gecko

    The issue isn't immigration, per se. Racial melting pots have never worked.

    People naturally self-segregate. Integration has to be compelled. This was the case in the US, where popularly-supported segregation was reversed by judicial rulings and the use of armed force.

    July 28, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. David

    Do people not realize that with declining birth rates that immigration is an absolute necessity in order to ensure that existing social programs can remain as the baby boomers age. Not to mention that in order to keep up with developing economies like China and India we need a labour force.

    July 28, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. southern cousin

    But Obozo and his corrupt, inept, union toady administration says there is not a thing we can do about it because they are potential voters for the liberals and given the fact of their illegality, they probably do fit the liberal profile perfectly. What a nightmare the SEIU gave us.

    July 28, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. T'SAH from Virginia

    "nearly seven in ten say that immigrants are a burden on the taxpayer, 62 percent think they add to the crime problem, and 59 percent believe they take jobs away from Americans."

    This is so hilarious –
    BURDEN on taxpayers – make them pay taxes – how, make them legal (YES I said it!!)

    CRIME PROBLEM – back in the days when America was first invaded – what crimes were committed against the Indians; who was brought here as slaves to build America; cowboy days – rootin', tootin' and shootin'!!!

    TAKE JOBS FROM AMERICANS – if the companies DID NOT hire them, they cannot take the jobs!!!

    Yep – America is 'MELTING" and the blame all goes on 'Illegal Immigrants"................GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

    It's melting because some feel 'threatened' – turn off the 'burner' and let the POT cool off and come up with ideas to make it work...

    July 28, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    No........destroying the country, because of corruption in government and judiciary.

    The people no longer have any voice in this country. The wealthy and powerful have taken total control. There is no longer right, nor justice, nor enforcement of laws.

    Whoever pays the money, gets their way.

    July 28, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Angus McDugan

    Melting pot actually makes strengthens the country, but ignoring and breaking the law weakens it and cost us money.

    July 28, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. Josiah

    Another brilliantly deluded opinion piece from Paul Republicon Shill Steinhauser – this guy pops out about 3 or 4 of these Polling articles a week – and twists and turns every little bit – what was it yesterday – oh yes, that even 25% of Hispanics agree with AZ Gov & her proposals – presented with much fanfare – I've conducted my own poll and reality disagrees 100% with anything coming from Paul Steinhauser & his Republicon paycheck – another day another sick and twisted lie, ahem I mean Poll from this subversive shill. – I can't help but wonder if people would regard CNN as a more newsworthy institution if it hadn't turned over nearly every facet to partisan shills/hacks; thus relying more on opinion than actual news

    July 28, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Enough

    Don't need a poll to tell me that, just come to California and see first hand what they are doing to this state, we are bankrupt and cannot support them and their expanding families. Illegals are a huge financial burden and that number is growing.

    July 28, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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