Although still worried about the effect of illegal immigration in California, the state’s voters are generally supportive of offering a pathway to legalization for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants already living and working in the United States, according to the results of a new poll.
Almost three in four voters are keen to see federal immigration laws overhauled; however, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll also shows that there are sharp divisions when it comes to the issue of the unaccompanied Central American immigrant minors pouring across the US border of late. Around half of those surveyed want the immigrant minors to be deported immediately; however, just as many want them to be allowed to remain in California until they have undergone legal proceedings.
Dave Kanevsky from Republican polling firm American Viewpoint says that the dichotomy is a reflection of a pragmatic attitude that something needs to be done about immigration without giving more immigrants incentive to illegally cross the US border. “Voters are compassionate to those here illegally – they recognize this is a problem that needs to be addressed,” he notes. “But what they don’t want to do is have solutions that let the problems continue and fester … They’re compassionate to immigrants but they’re not open-border advocates.”
The findings also show that the state electorate has become much more tolerant of undocumented immigrants in the last 20 years, although 72% of those who responded to the poll still believe that illegal immigration is a major problem for the United States.