Poll: Voters support a path to legalization for immigrants here illegally
Though deeply concerned about the effects of illegal immigration on California, state voters broadly support a path to legalization for the nation’s 12 million unauthorized residents, according to a new poll.
Across major demographic and partisan groups, nearly three in four of those surveyed favor an overhaul of federal immigration laws. But sharp divisions emerge over the fate of unaccompanied minors from Central America who have streamed over the U.S. border in recent months, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll shows.
Nearly half call for the children to be immediately deported, but a similar number say they should be allowed to stay in California as they await legal proceedings.
The dichotomy reflects a pragmatic belief that something must be done without creating an incentive that prompts more people to cross the border illicitly, said Dave Kanevsky of American Viewpoint, a Republican polling firm that helped conduct the bipartisan survey.
“Voters are compassionate to those here illegally — they recognize this is a problem that needs to be addressed,” he said. “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 reflect a state electorate that has grown increasingly tolerant of people here illegally in the two decades since the passage of Proposition 187, the ballot measure intended to deny taxpayer-funded services to those in the country illegally. (It was virtually invalidated later by the courts.)