Immigration Facts

Public Opinion Polls on Immigration

 

National Polls by Topic

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Public Opinion Polls

The general public overwhelmingly favors immigration reform. Poll after poll shows that Americans want well-enforced, sensible, and sustainable immigration laws.

  • 59% of likely voters believe that the “policies and practices of the federal government encourage illegal immigration.” Only 23% disagree (Rasmussen, September 2011).
  • 72% of likely voters believe parents should be required to prove they are legal residents when registering their child for public school; only 21% oppose such a requirement. Only 32% believe that children of illegal aliens should be allowed to attend public school in the U.S., opposed to 53% who disagree (Rasmussen, August 2011).
  • 81% of likely voters oppose granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens in their state, with 12% supporting tuition breaks for illegal aliens (Rasmussen, August 2011).
  • 66% of likely voters say that gaining control of the border is more important than amnesty for illegal aliens. Only 27% believe amnesty is more important (Rasmussen, July 2011).
  • 43% of Americans believe that immigration to the U.S. should be decreased, 35% believe that it should be remain at its present level, while only 18% believe that it should be increased (Gallup, June 2011).

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  • 60% of likely voters believe that the "policies and practices" of the federal government encourages illegal immigration (Rasmussen, May 2011).
  • Only 30% of likely voters say that the U.S. border with Mexico is secure; 64% say that the border is not secure (Rasmussen, May 2011).
  • 59% of likely U.S. voters favor cutting off federal funds to sanctuary cities, with just 28% opposed (Rasmussen, May 2011).
  • 61% of likely American voters "believe that a child born in the United States to a woman who is here illegally should not automatically become a U.S. citizen" (Rasmussen, April 2011).
  • 61% of American adults believe that there would be less poverty in the United States if immigration laws were enforced. Only 19% disagree (Rasmussen, April 2011).
  • 67% of likely U.S. voters believe law enforcement officers should check immigration status during traffic stops (Rasmussen, March 2011).
  • 66% of likely U.S. voters support strict government sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants (Rasmussen, March 2011).

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  • 67% of likely U.S. voters believe that states should enforce immigration laws if the federal government fails to do so (Rasmussen, February 2011).
  • 54% of likely voters oppose the DREAM Act, compared to 38% who support its passage (Pulse, November 2010).
  • U.S. registered voters support stricter enforcement of immigration law over "integrating illegal immigrants into American society" 68% to 24% (Quinnipiac, September 2010).
  • Americans oppose, 58% to 34%, granting automatic citizenship to a child born in the U.S. to an illegal immigrant (Rasmussen, August 2010).
  • Two major polling firms asked Americans to rate President Obama's performance on a series of issues.
    1. 23% of likely voters rated Obama's performance on immigration as positive, while 74% rated his performance negative, including 58% who rated his performance poor (Zogby, August 2010).
    2. Only 29% of U.S. adults approved of President Obama's handling of immigration compared to 62% who disapproved (Gallup, August 2010).
  • 61% of likely U.S. voters oppose "sanctuary cities" that prohibit police officers from inquiring about an individual's immigration status. Only 26% support sanctuary polices. 54% believe that the Justice Department should take legal action (Rasmussen, July 2010).

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  • 61% of likely U.S. voters support a law similar to Arizona SB1070 for their own state (Rasmussen, July 2010).
  • 56% of likely U.S. voters disagree with the Justice Department's lawsuit challenging Arizona SB1070. 28% agree with the lawsuit (Rasmussen, July 2010).
  • 62% of Americans believe that illegal aliens are a cost burden on U.S. taxpayers, while 32% of Americans believe that illegal aliens pay their fair share in taxes (Gallup, July 2010).
  • 58% of Americans support Arizona SB1070 (Washington Post/ABC, June 2010).
  • U.S. voters agree with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer over President Obama on immigration policy, 55% to 34% (Rasmussen, June 2010).
  • 67% of U.S. voters say that military troops should be deployed to the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration (Rasmussen, May 2010).
  • 88% of Americans say more federal law enforcement officials are needed along Mexican border (CNN, May 2010).
  • 70% of likely Arizona voters approve of the state's new law authorizing police officers to inquire about an individual's immigration status; only 23% oppose it (Rasmussen, April 2010).

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  • 60% of likely voters nationwide favor the passage of a law authorizing police to inquire about an individual's immigration status, while 31% are opposed (Rasmussen, April 2010).
  • 66% of Americans believe that the U.S. "should not make it easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens" (CNN, April 2010).
  • 59% of Americans believe that the U.S. should continue to build a fence along the Mexican border. Just 26% believe the U.S. should stop building the fence (Rasmussen, March 2010).
  • 68% of likely voters think that securing the border is more important than granting amnesty to illegal aliens, but only 20% believe that Congress will take steps to secure the border in within the next year (Rasmussen, March 2010).
  • 67% of likely voters believe illegal immigrants are a "significant strain" on the U.S. budget (Rasmussen, March 2010).
  • 68% of African-Americans, 56% of Hispanics, and 57% of Asian-Americans believe that immigration is too high (Zogby, February 2010).

2008-09 Polls

  • 87% of U.S. voters believe that anyone receiving federal health care subsidies should be required to prove they are in the United States legally (Rasmussen, December 2009).
  • 67% of likely voters including — 63% of Executives, 70% of Small Business Owners, and 63% of Union Member Households — believe that immigration to the U.S. is too high (Zogby, November 2009).
  • 71% of likely voters including — 61% of Executives, 65% of Small Business Owners, and 72% of Union Member Households — believe there are enough American workers available to fill unskilled jobs (Zogby, November 2009).
  • 85% of likely voters say that individuals should be able to prove that they are in the country legally before they receive any federal, state, or local government services. Only 8% disagree (Rasmussen, November 2009).
  • 68% oppose the creation of sanctuary cities (jurisdictions that have a policy of not enforcing immigration law) with only 13% in favor (Rasmussen, October 2009).
  • 73% of Americans want to see a decrease in illegal immigration, while only 3% believe there should be an increase (CNN, October 2009).
  • 56% of Mexicans believe that granting amnesty to illegal aliens in the United States would make it more likely that people they know would attempt to illegally migrate to United States. Only 17% think it would make people less likely to migrate illegally to the United States (Zogby, October 2009).
  • 65% of Mexicans who have a member of their immediate household in the United States said that amnesty would make people they know more likely to attempt to illegally migrate to America (Zogby, October 2009).
  • 55% of Mexicans who expressed a desire to migrate to the U.S. said they would attempt to enter the U.S. illegally (Pew Hispanic Center, September 2009).
  • 56% of U.S. voters believe that the policies of the federal government encourage illegal immigration (Rasmussen, October 2009).
  • 83% of U.S. voters say that citizenship verification should be part of any health care reform legislation (Rasmussen, September 2009).

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  • 78% of likely U.S. voters believe that mass immigration has adversely impacted the quality and cost of the U.S. health care system (Pulse Opinion Research, August 2009).
  • 78% of likely U.S. voters oppose amnesty, with 19% in favor. 88% of African-Americans oppose amnesty. (Pulse Opinion Research, August 2009).
  • 70% of American voters feel that increased border control should be the most important priority in immigration reform. Only 22% prioritized legalization of illegal aliens (Rasmussen, August 2009).
  • 50% of American think immigration to the U.S. should be decreased, while only 14% want to see an increase in immigration to the U.S. (Gallup, August 2009).
  • 68% of adults think limiting care to illegal aliens is a good to excellent way to reduce overall health care costs (Zogby, July 2009).
  • 80% of likely voters oppose healthcare coverage for illegal aliens (Rasmussen, June 2009).
  • 67% of liberals and progressives believe that the level of immigration into the U.S. is too high (Pulse Opinion, April 2009).
  • 68% believe that employers who hire illegal aliens should be punished (Rasmussen, March 2009).
  • 79% of voters say the military should be used along the border with Mexico (Rasmussen, March 2009).
  • 73% believe law enforcement officers should check immigration status during traffic stops (Rasmussen, March 2009).
  • Only 32% of Obama voters considered his support for amnesty as a factor in their decisions to vote for him (Zogby, November 2008).

These are only a few examples of the many statistics demonstrating that Americans want lower immigration, greater enforcement, and more commitment to making immigration work in the best interests of the nation.

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Most Recent National Polls

 

Rasmussen, May 27-28, 2011, poll of likely voters nationwide:

  • 82% think that businesses should be required to use E-Verify to determine a potential employee's work status. Only 12% oppose such a requirement (Rasmussen, May 2011).
  • 61% favor a law in their state that would "shut down companies that knowingly and repeatedly hire illegal immigrants. Just 21% oppose such a law."
  • 65% believe that employers who hire illegal workers are a bigger problem that those who seek employment illegally in the U.S.
  • 63% feel that landlords should be required to check to make sure a potential renter is in the country legally before renting to them an apartment. 28% do not believe landlords should be required to make such checks.

Rasmussen, May 17-18, 2011, poll of likely voters nationwide:

  • 60% believe that the "policies and practices" of the federal government encourages illegal immigration (Rasmussen, May 2011).
  • 64% say that gaining control of the border is more important than amnesty for illegal aliens. Only 31% believe amnesty is more important (Rasmussen, May 2011).
  • 45% think allowing individual states to enact and enforce their own immigration laws is the best approach; 48% say "relying" on the federal government is best.
  • 61% support using the U.S. military on the border to prevent illegal immigration, compared to only 27% in opposition.
  • 54% favor an immigration policy that "welcomes all immigrants except for national security threats, criminals and those who come to the United States to live off the welfare system."

Rasmussen, May 7, 2011, poll of likely voters nationwide:

  • 59% favor cutting off federal funds to sanctuary cities, with just 28% opposed.
  • 29% believe that Congress is "even somewhat to agree to cut off funds" to sanctuary cities, while 55% don't believe congress will cut off funding.
  • 58% think that the Justice Department should take legal action sanctuary cities while only 26% are opposed to this action.
  • Only 17% support the creation of sanctuary cities with 65% opposing their establishment.

Rasmussen, July 8, 2010, poll of likely voters nationwide:

  • 86% list immigration as an important issue for determining how they will vote in the 2010 Congressional elections (55% "very important," 31% "somewhat important").
  • 61% support a law similar to Arizona SB1070 in their own state. 28% are in opposition to such a law.
  • 56% disagree with the Justice Department’s lawsuit challenging Arizona’s SB1070. 28% agree with the lawsuit.
  • 68% believe that securing the border is more important than legalizing illegal aliens already in the United States. 24% believe that legalizing illegal aliens is more important.

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Rasmussen, March 2010, poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters:

  • 68% think that securing the border is more important than granting amnesty to illegal aliens, 26% favor amnesty.
  • 20% think Congress is likely to pass legislation over the next year to gain control of the border, 71% think it unlikely.
  • 45% think Congress is likely to pass legislation over the next year creating a "pathway to citizenship, 47% think it unlikely.
  • 67% believe that illegal immigration is a strain on the federal budget, 23% do not think so.
  • 66% agree that the availability of government benefits attracts illegal aliens to the U.S., 19% disagree.

Zogby, February 2010, poll of 700 Hispanic, 400 African-American, and 400 Asian-American likely voters:

  • Believe immigration to the U.S. it too high, too low, or just right:
    • African-Americans: 68% too high, 4% too low, 14% just right
    • Hispanics: 56% too high, 7% too low, 20% just right
    • Asian-Americans: 57% too high, 5% too low, 18% just right
  • Believe that illegal immigration is due to a lack of enforcement, or unfair limits on legal immigrants
    • African-Americans: 70% lack of enforcement, 16% unfair limits
    • Hispanics: 61% lack of enforcement, 20% unfair limits
    • Asian-Americans: 69% lack of enforcement, 19% unfair limits
  • Believe that there is a shortage of low-wage native-born workers, or there are enough American workers to fill these jobs
    • African-Americans: 6% shortage of workers, 81% enough American workers
    • Hispanics: 15% shortage of workers, 65% enough American workers
    • Asian-Americans: 19% shortage of workers, 65% enough American workers
  • Which is preferred option, enforcement of current immigration law or a "pathway to citizenship":
    • African-Americans: 50% enforce law, 30% amnesty, 10% neither
    • Hispanics: 52% enforce law, 34% amnesty, 7% neither
    • Asian-Americans: 57% enforce law, 29% amnesty, 7% neither

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Zogby, November 2009, poll of 41,162 likely voters containing 9,990 small business owners, 7,046 union member households, and 2,490 Executives (CEOs, CFOs, VPs, and department heads):

  • Believe that overall immigration is too high:
    • Executives: 63% too high, 5% too low, 16% just right
    • Small Business Owners: 70% too high, 4% too low, 13% just right
    • Union Member Households: 63% too high, 5% too low, 14% just right
    • All Likely Voters: 67% too high, 4% too low, 14% just right
  • There are enough American workers available to fill unskilled jobs:
    • Executives: 61% agree, 16% disagree
    • Small Business Owners: 65% agree, 13% disagree
    • Union Member Households: 72% agree, 10% disagree
    • All Likely Voters: 71% agree, 11% disagree
  • Illegal Immigration is due to a lack of enforcement, not because of unfair limits on legal immigration:
    • Executives: 75% lack of enforcement, 13% unfair limits
    • Small Business Owners: 79% lack of enforcement, 10% unfair limits
    • Union Member Households: 71% lack of enforcement, 14% unfair limits
    • All Likely Voters: 74% lack of enforcement, 13% unfair limits
  • Support greater enforcement efforts to cause illegal aliens to return to their home countries:
    • Executives: 59%
    • Small Business Owners: 67%
    • Union Member Households: 58%
    • All Likely Voters: 61%

Zogby, December 2009, poll of 42,026 likely voters who belong to the largest U.S. religious groups

  • 64% of both Catholics and Mainline Protestants support greater enforcement to encourage illegals to return to their home countries.
  • 76% of Evangelical Protestants support greater enforcement.
  • Think immigration to the U.S. is too high: Catholics 69%, Mainline Protestants 72%, Evangelical Protestants 78%, Jews 50%.
  • Think more unskilled immigrants are necessary to fill job shortages in U.S.: Catholics 12%, Mainline Protestants 10%, Evangelical Protestants 7%, Jews 21%.

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Rasmussen, October 30, 2009, poll of 1,000 likely voters

  • 68% oppose the creation of sanctuary cities (jurisdictions that have a policy of not enforcing immigration law) with only 13% in favor.
  • 49% to 33% say that federal funding should be cut off to sanctuary cities.
  • 50% believe that sanctuary policies lead to increased crime, while 20% disagree.
  • 56% to 27% believe that the policies of the federal government encourage illegal immigration.

CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, October 22, 2009, poll of 1,039 adults

  • 73% of Americans want to see a decrease in illegal immigration, while only 3% believe there should be an increase.
  • 37% want to see all illegal aliens deported, and another 23% want the number if illegal aliens "decreased significantly."

Zogby, October 2009, poll of 1,004 adults in Mexico

  • 56% believe that granting amnesty to illegal aliens in the United States would make it more likely that people they know would attempt to illegally migrate to United States. Only 17 % thought it would people make less likely to migrate illegally to the United States (Zogby, October 2009).
  • 65% of those who have a member of their immediate household in the United States said that amnesty would make people they know more likely to attempt to illegally migrate to America (Zogby, October 2009).
  • Despite the recession, 36% of Mexicans (39 million people) say they would move to the United States if possible.
  • 69% believe that the primary loyalty of Mexican-Americans (including those born in the U.S.) should be to Mexico.
  • 69% think that the Mexican government should protect the interests of Mexican-Americans living in the United States.

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Rasmussen, October 13, 2009, poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters

  • 56% of U.S. voters believe that the policies of the federal government encourage illegal immigration. Only 27 % of voters disagree.
  • With those expressing a feeling of anger over immigration, 83 % of voters are angry at the federal government with only 12 % directing their anger at immigrants.
  • 64% of voters believe law enforcement officers should continue to target sites where illegal aliens gather to look for work.
  • 71% believe that employers who knowingly hire legal workers should be arrested.

Pew Hispanic Center, September 23, 2009, poll of 1,000 adults in Mexico

  • 57% believe that those who move from Mexico to the United States enjoy a better quality of life. 33% would move to the United States if possible.
  • Of those who expressed the desire to live in the United States, 55% expressed the inclination to attempt to live and work in the United States illegally.
  • 42% believe that it is good for Mexico that so many of its citizens live in the United States.

Rasmussen, September 7, 2009, poll of 1,000 U.S. voters

  • 83% of American voters say proof of citizenship should be required before anyone receives government health care aid.
  • 95% of Republicans, 87 % of independents and 70 % of Democrats agree.
  • 90% of conservatives and 56 % of liberals agree.
  • 53 % of voters currently oppose proposed health care reform legislation.

Pulse Opinion Research, August 26, 2009, 1,000 likely voters

  • 78% of Americans believe that mass immigration has adversely impacted the quality and cost of the U.S. health care system. 89% of Republicans and 69% were in agreement on this question.
  • 73% of likely voters agreed that hospitals should be allowed to collect data about the citizenship status of those seeking emergency room care, while still providing the level of emergency care required by law. Only 18% disagreed.
  • 77% believe that providing health insurance to illegal aliens will result in increased illegal immigration to the U.S.
  • 83% were concerned that the United States will add 135 million people to its population over the next 40 years, with most of that increase due to immigration.
  • 78% of likely U.S. voters oppose amnesty, with 19% in favor. 88% of African-Americans oppose amnesty.

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Pulse Opinion Research, April 14, 2009, poll of 600 self-indentified liberals and progressives

  • 67% of liberals and progressives believe that the level of immigration into the U.S. is too high.
  • 58% feel that the current level of immigration is harmful to the environment.
  • 63% said that current levels of immigration hurts job prospects for American workers.
  • 67% believe that the current rate of immigration will worsen the future quality of life in U.S.

Rasmussen, March 14-15, 2009 poll of 1,000 voters

  • 68% believe that employers who hire illegal aliens should be punished.
  • 48% support sanctions on landlords who rent or sell property to illegal immigrants; only 36% are opposed to sanctions.
  • 73% believe law enforcement officers should check immigration status during traffic stops.
  • 67% say enforcement officers should conduct surprise raids in places where immigrants are known to gather to find work, to identify and deport illegal aliens; 24% oppose these raids.

Rasmussen, March 12-13, 2009 poll of 1,000 likely voters

  • 79% (vs. 10%) say the military should be used along the border with Mexico to protect American citizens if drug-related violence continues to grow in that area.
  • 82% of voters are concerned that Mexican drug violence will spill over into the United States.
  • 61% (vs. 27%) say the United States should continue the fence.

Rasmussen, October 24-25, 2007 poll of 800 likely voters found that:

  • 59% (vs. 22%) opposed the DREAM Act (a form of amnesty for former and present illegal alien students) concept.
  • 68% (vs. 15%) believe the passage of the bill would encourage more illegal immigration in the future.
  • 71% (vs. 16%) believe that illegal immigrants should not qualify for in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities.

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