Gallup: Illegal Immigration as Important as Border Security

Monday, 17 Feb 2014 09:06 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Americans believe finding a plan to deal with the nation's illegal immigrants is just as important as halting the flow of new undocumented residents, a new poll has found, marking a significant shift from past trends when people were consistently more concerned with border security.

According to a Gallup Poll conducted Feb. 6-9, 44 percent of adults say it is "extremely important" for the U.S. to come up with a plan for the large number of illegal immigrants already living in the U.S.

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In comparison, 43 percent of the 1,023 people surveyed say the priority is halting the flow of illegal immigrants into the country by tightening border security.

"The equal importance Americans place on the two main immigration challenges does not give government leaders much guidance as to which they should attempt to resolve first if they opt for a piecemeal approach to immigration reform," said the poll's author, Jeffrey Jones.

"Still, the gap is small, suggesting this is not an overwhelming preference, and that a strategy that attempts to deal with both issues may be preferable."

Prior to 2012, Americans tended to put more emphasis on border security, but since then the balance has tilted in the direction of addressing the status of illegal immigrants already in the U.S., according to the poll.

In his State of the Union Address last month, President Barack Obama renewed his call for immigration reform, noting that the House has failed to take forward the comprehensive immigration reform package passed by the Senate last June.

Republicans, however, have signaled that the prospects for immigration reform during Obama's presidency are looking increasingly unlikely after relations between the parties took a nosedive over the government shutdown and the roll-out of Obamacare.

Some in the GOP also say they lack faith in the administration to enforce tough new border security measures they believe are a necessary as part of an immigration deal.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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