A new survey by pollster Scott Rasmussen shows a strong public belief that currently illegal immigrants should be granted legal status only after new border security measures are in place. The poll also shows little public faith that the federal government will actually secure the border, along with a slight decline in support for immigration reform in general.
Rasmussen found that 55 percent of those surveyed support a plan to “secure the border to prevent future illegal immigration but to give legal status to those already here.” But when asked whether “those who are now in this country illegally [should] be granted legal status right away or only after the border is secured?” a whopping 66 percent said legal status should come only after border security.
The majority in favor of security-first cut across all party and demographic lines. Seventy-one percent of men support it; 60 percent of women; 59 percent of young people; 67 percent of middle-aged people; 75 percent of older Americans; 68 percent of whites; 62 percent of blacks; 56 percent of others; 82 percent of Republicans; 53 percent of Democrats; 65 percent of independents; 81 percent of conservatives; 59 percent of moderates; 51 percent of liberals; 77 percent of people who make under $30,000 a year; 66 percent of those who make between $30,000 and $50,000 a year; 66 percent of those who make between $50,000 and $100,000; 55 percent of those who make between $100,000 and $200,000; 51 percent of those who make more than $200,000; 75 percent of veterans; and 64 percent of non-veterans.
In contrast to the strong majorities favoring security first, a diminishing minority believes the government will actually increase security along the border. When asked whether, if comprehensive immigration reform is passed, “how likely is it that the federal government would secure border and prevent illegal immigration?” only 30 percent said it is very or somewhat likely. Fifty-seven percent said it is not very or not at all likely, and 14 percent were not sure.
Given all that, Rasmussen found that support for immigration reform has slipped a little. Last month, he found 59 percent support for a plan to give legal status to currently illegal immigrants, provided the border is secured. In the new survey, he found 55 percent.