Most Americans still oppose granting U.S. citizenship automatically to children born in America to illegal immigrants.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of U.S. Adults finds that 58% oppose automatic citizenship for a child born in this country to an illegal immigrant. That number has not changed since early June. A third of adults (34%) believe those children should become U.S. citizens.
Sentiments are basically unchanged from four years ago when the Senate was considering the immigration issue. The Senate was eventually forced to drop its plans and surrender to public opinion on the topic.
But 64% now believe illegal immigrants' children who serve two years in the U.S. military should be granted citizenship. One-in-four adults (25%) say those children should not be granted citizenship.
These numbers show slightly stronger support than results found in October 2007.
Voters have said consistently for years that when it comes to immigration reform, gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States.
The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on August 10-11, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
In Arizona, where legislators recently passed a strict immigration enforcement law and are considering a law refusing to give birth certificates to children born to illegal immigrants in the state, 64% agree that those children should not automatically become U.S. citizens.
Only 28% of adults believe illegal immigrants' children who finish two years of college in the United States should be granted citizenship. Fifty-six percent (56%) disagree with that practice, while another 16% are not sure.
In fact, 63% of adults believe granting citizenship to the children of illegals who attend two years of college would encourage more people to enter the country illegally. Only 23% disagree with that view, and 14% more are not sure.
Americans are more evenly divided when it comes to the impact of granting citizenship to those who provide military service. While 41% say legalizing those children of illegal aliens who serve two years in the military would encourage more illegal immigration, 41% disagree. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided.
Women are slightly more supportive than men of granting citizenship to children of illegal immigrants. Both men and women are equally supportive of allowing those children who serve in the U.S. military to be citizens.
Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major political party strongly oppose giving automatic citizenship to children of illegal immigrants, while Democrats are evenly divided. Still, a majority of adults from all party affiliations support citizenship for those who provide military service.
Most voters believe that the availability of government money and services draws illegal immigrants to the United States.
Fifty-four percent (54%) say the Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. But 56% disagree with the Justice Department's decision to challenge Arizona's new law in federal court.
Despite a judge’s ruling putting key provisions of Arizona’s law on hold, most voters still favor passage of such a law in their own state.
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