CBS Poll: Most Americans Back Arizona Immigration Law

Thursday, 07 Jun 2012 11:02 PM

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A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows that more than half of Americans think that Arizona’s tough immigration law is just “about right” for protecting our southern border.

Signed into law in April 2010, the law is considered among the most stringent immigration laws in the nation. It requires police and other state law enforcement authorities to check the citizenship status of anyone they believe appears to be an undocumented immigrant.

That’s what has sparked so much controversy – supporters call it common sense while opponents say it effectively legalizes racial profiling in a state with a heavy Latino population.

The CBS poll, conducted from May 31-June 3 among 976 adults nationwide, found that 52 percent of Americans believe Arizona's immigration policy is about right, while 33 percent say it goes too far. Eleven percent say the law does not go far enough.

The U.S. Department of Justice is challenging the law on the grounds that it conflicts with what it contends is the federal government's exclusive right to set immigration laws for the country.

But most Americans seem to disagree with that assessment. Sixty-two percent of respondents - and majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents - say both the federal government and state governments should be able to determine laws regarding undocumented immigrants. Twenty-five percent (30 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans) think such laws should be determined exclusively by the federal government, and 11 percent (4 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of Republicans) think they should be determined by state governments only.

But what about illegals now living in the United States? Some 43 percent think they should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship while 21 percent think they should be allowed only as guest workers, and 32 percent think they should required to leave the country. These percentages have been generally consistent for the past three years, according to CBS.


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