Thursday, December 7, 2006

Immigration Reform: Securing the Border is Priority for 68% Thu Dec 7, 10:12 AM ET
Election 2006 brought a lot of change to American politics, but little has changed on the issue of immigration. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of voters continue to believe that securing the borders is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already in the country. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey finds that just 23% believe addressing the status of those workers is the top priority. This is similar to survey results we found prior to the November 7 election.
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Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans say securing the border is priority one. That view is shared by 57% of Democrats and 69% of those not affiliated with either major political party.
Despite this preference, there's not much hope than anything will be accomplished. Just 10% of Americans believe it's very likely that serious immigration reform will be passed by Congress in the next couple of years. Another 33% say serious reform is "somewhat" likely. Last year, Senate Democrats sided with
President Bush' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> President Bush to pass a "comprehensive" immigration bill that was opposed by a majority of Republicans in the Senate. Opposition was even fiercer in the House and over time the focus of the debate shifted in the direction of the public concerns. Ultimately, a bill was passed to provide a fence along the Mexican border (an idea supported by most Americans).
Forty-nine percent (49%) say it's at least somewhat likely that Congress will pass legislation legalizing more than 10 million undocumented workers. Fifty-two percent (52%) think it's possible something will be done to increase border security. Just 43% believe Congress will approved strict sanctions on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Employer sanctions are among the most popular proposals among voters.
Voters are generally pessimistic about what the President and Congress will accomplish over the next two years. Such low expectations may be a tactical political benefit for the new Democratic Congress. A similar pessimism was found concerning the situation in Iraq--voters overwhelmingly support a proposal to bring home the troops over a couple of years but most don't expect it to happen.
This national telephone survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports November 28-29, 2006. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information