Texas Poll: Most Favor Swift Deportation of Illegal Immigrants

Image: Texas Poll: Most Favor Swift Deportation of Illegal Immigrants A Border Patrol agent escorts a group of illegal immigrants into custody near the U.S.-Mexico border in Havana, Texas.

Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 09:36 AM

By Melanie Batley

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With hundreds of undocumented immigrants streaming across the Texas border every day, over half of Texans say the United States should deport them immediately, a new poll has found.

In the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll conducted May 30-June 8 of 1,200 adults, 54 percent of respondents said they "agree" or "somewhat agree" that people who illegally cross the border should be removed from the country immediately.

Forty percent of those surveyed say they "disagree" or "somewhat disagree" with swift deportation.

The poll, which has a margin of error of 2.8 percent, also found that 73 percent agree that "we should restrict and control people coming to live in the U.S. more than we do now."

Nevertheless, 60 percent say that newcomers from other countries "enrich Texas with their hard work and values."

"This tells us a lot about the continuing power of immigration and border politics in Texas," Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin, told The Texas Tribune.

Republicans were much more likely to take a hard-line approach to immigration issues than Democrats. Seventy-four percent of GOP voters support the idea of deportation, compared to 32 percent of Democrats. Among those who identified themselves as tea party supporters, 85 percent said they believed in immediate deportation.

"The harder-line conservatives have shifted this issue by the way they have talked about this issue," said Daron Shaw, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin and co-director of the poll, according to the Tribune. "The majority of Republican sentiment is moving in a more conservative direction in Texas."

The survey also looked at whether illegal immigrants should be eligible for in-state college tuition. Again, Republicans and Democrats came down on opposite sides of the issue.

Fifty-four percent of Democrats say undocumented immigrant students should be eligible for in-state college tuition, compared to 58 percent of Republicans who say they should pay higher, out-of-state rates.

On taxes, only 34 percent of Texas voters agree that "most immigrants pay their fair share of taxes," compared to 56 percent who disagree, the poll found.

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