DENVER – By a large margin, likely voters believe that granting illegal aliens a pathway to citizenship will contribute to more illegal immigration in the future, according to the results of a recent Rasmussen Reports poll. Survey respondents also disagreed with Obama administration claims that security along the U.S.-Mexico border has “never been stronger.”
When asked, “Will providing a pathway to citizenship for those currently in the country illegally encourage more illegal immigration?”, nearly half, 48 percent, said it would while just 33 percent said it would not. Another 19 percent were unsure.
A majority of men – 53 percent – held the view that allowing illegal aliens to become citizens would invite more illegal immigration, compared to just 33 percent who said it would not. One in five men, 19 percent, said they were not sure.
Among women, a plurality (44 percent) said that legalizing the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. would encourage more illegal immigration. One in three (33 percent) said it would not. Nearly one in four women (23 percent) said they were unsure.
The question split respondents along partisan lines.
Among those who identified themselves as Democrats, just 29 percent said that providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants would result in more illegal immigration, compared to 44 percent who said it would not.
A whopping 66 percent of those who identified themselves as Republicans said they believed allowing illegal immigrants to gain citizenship would encourage more illegal immigration, compared to just 17 percent who said it would not.
Most of those not affiliated with either major political party sided with Republicans on the question. A majority, 53 percent, said that allowing a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens would cause more illegal immigration, while roughly one third, 34 percent, said it would not.
Respondents also seemed to reject the claims of Obama Homeland Security Department chief Janet Napolitano, who told Congress this week that border security had “never been stronger.”
Just 25 percent of those polled said they believe that the U.S. border is “now more secure than it has ever been”, while 47 percent said it was not. Another 28 percent said they were not sure.
The survey results also suggest that most people want to see the government take more aggressive action to enforce immigration laws, despite Napolitano’s claim Wednesday that illegal border crossings have dropped to their lowest point in modern history.
When asked, “Is additional border security still needed?”, 62 percent said it was, while just 22 percent said it was not.
Additional border security was supported by a majority of men (63 percent), women (61 percent), Republicans (78 percent), unaffiliated respondents (60 percent), whites (66 percent), and blacks (62 percent), as well as a plurality of Democrats (50 percent), and those who did not identify themselves as either black or white (44 percent).
The findings come as bipartisan working groups in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are developing immigration legislation, just days after a sweeping White House amnesty plan leaked to the media, and on the heels of reports that illegal immigrants collecting welfare benefits could potentially qualify for U.S. citizenship.
Observers expect Congress to consider the controversial issue in the coming months.
The Rassmussen Reports national poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters between February 18 and February 19, and has a margin of error of + / – 3 percentage points.