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77% want illegal immigrants sent home, 81% say it's a serious issue

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Immigration,Barack Obama,Polls,Mexico,Border Security

A huge majority of Americans, 81 percent, believe the new immigration crisis of unaccompanied children streaming over the U.S.-Mexico border is serious, and almost as many want them gone -- some even if it's not safe to return, according to a new poll.

In an Economist/YouGov.com survey, however, the public isn't heartless in how they view the plight of the children, with 66 percent expressing sympathy for their situation that drove them north, where U.S. Border Control officers are catching the new arrivals for immigration processing.

But while there is an understanding among many Americans that some of the children are fleeing violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, a majority, 57 percent, believe the illegal immigrants are coming to America because they believe “that the U.S. government is or will be granting amnesty to undocumented immigrant children,” said the new poll.

The poll is the latest to show that the nation doesn’t believe the president’s immigration policies are working. And it is proof that most want the flow of illegals into the United States slowed or shut off.

While 77 percent said they want the illegals returned, there are different degrees in how fast it should be done. For example, 10 percent said that Border Control should just return the children to the Mexican border. Another 32 percent said that the children should be returned home “regardless of conditions in their home country,” and 35 percent said they should be returned “only if” conditions are safe.

And for those allowed to stay temporarily, the public is split evenly on whether unaccompanied children should be housed in their state or in another state.

The poll also revealed that the crisis has become a drag on President Obama. “The approval rating of the president on immigration, like his approval ratings on many other issues, is negative. A majority disapproves, and only a third approve. But the evaluation of the president is even worse among those who would deport the child migrants as soon as possible: only 16 percent in that group approve of how Barack Obama is handling immigration. Those who want the children to stay until they can be returned safely approve of the president's performance,” said the poll analysis.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.