Poll: 60% say employed undocumented immigrants should stay

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A CNN/ORC poll shows 60 percent of Americans want the U.S. government to develop a plan to allow undocumented immigrants who have jobs to become legal residents.

When asked what should be the U.S. government’s top priority on the issue of illegal immigration, 60 percent of Americans said it should develop a plan to allow employed undocumented immigrants to become legal residents, 26 percent said it should develop a plan to stop immigrants from entering the United States illegally, 13 percent said it should deport immigrants already living in the United States illegally and 1 percent had no opinion.

The poll released Friday shows that when split along party lines, 81 percent of Democrats said the government should develop a plan to allow residency, compared to 37 percent of Republicans who said the same. Five percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Republicans said all undocumented immigrants should be deported. Thirteen percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans said the U.S. government’s priority should be to stop the illegal entry of immigrants.

When asked if the government should attempt to deport all people currently living in the United States illegally, 71 percent of Americans said it should not, 27 percent said it should and 2 percent had no opinion.

On whether the government should deport all people living in the United States illegally who have been convicted of other crimes in the country, 78 percent said the government should deport them all, 19 percent said they should not be deported and 3 percent had no opinion.

On Jan. 25, Trump signed an executive order to strip federal grant money from so-called “sanctuary cities” — U.S. municipalities that protect undocumented immigrants from federal prosecution. Trump’s order also seeks to hire 10,000 additional immigration officers, to build more detention centers and to prioritize undocumented immigrants for deportation.

In the poll, 58 percent of people said deportation efforts will go too far and result in deportation of people who haven’t committed serious crimes, and 40 percent said deportation efforts won’t go far enough and dangerous criminals will remain in the United States.

In recent weeks, attorneys and prosecutors in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado have reported teams of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents — some uniformed, some dressed in plainclothes — have swept into courtrooms or outside court complexes to arrest undocumented immigrants.

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on Thursday called on the Trump administration to stop immigration agents from “stalking” state courthouses to make arrests.

“Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws,” Cantil-Sakauye wrote in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. “Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair.”

About 90 percent of Americans favor legislation that would allow immigrants who have been in the United States a number of years, who hold a job, who speak English and who are willing to pay any back taxes that they owe a pathway to citizenship. Nine percent of Americans would oppose that legislation and 1 percent had no opinion.

The CNN/ORC poll, which interviewed 1,025 adult Americans via telephone from March 1 through March 4, has a margin of error of 3 percent.

UPI