Deportation and Immigration: Americans Split on the Issues

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Immigration has been — and likely will continue to be — a hot topic this year in Washington, despite the grim outlook on Congressional cooperation to get some kind of functional reform passed. Both parties are feeling pressure from different interest groups to get to work on the issue, however, some congressional Republicans — i.e. John Boehner (R-Ohio) — worry that President Barack Obama may not enforce new laws as stridently as necessary, while some Democrats are displeased with some of the logistics of the path to legalization. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) helped pen a bill presently facing Congress, but despite some Republican support, its passage is questionable. Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) said that while he’d like to see a vote in 2014, “the lay of the land” makes 2015 look like a better bet, according to the Journal News.

Some areas, including Texas, Pennsylvania, Farmers Branch, and Hazleton — having grown tired of waiting on national reform — attempted to pass law that would change renting and employment rules in their areas, making it harder to find housing and work as an illegal immigrant, easier to get caught, and enacting harsher punishments on those who broke the rules. After being overturned by state courts, the laws are headed to the Supreme Court, which may choose not to hear them should it decide to continue on a trend of non-involvment from 2013 — according to Reuters.

With congressional hold-ups and state impatience in mind, American’s opinions have been largely shown as either split or apathetic. A Gallup poll in late February rated immigration near the bottom of a list of 19 issues, below everything from the economy to education, healthcare, and gun policy. Now, a¬†PewResearch¬†poll looked into the partisan viewpoints on immigration legislation importance. In total, it found less than 49 percent saying that the legislation was extremely/very important, down a percentage point in February of 2014 compared to June of 2013, and while polls may show it as an important issue for half, it may be beneath a number of other issues also deemed important. When evaluated, the difference of opinion between Hispanic and White individuals, the statistics are unsurprisingly less even, with a 28 percentage point difference was shown, with 44 percent of White individuals saying the passage of new legislation was extremely important, compared to 72 percent of Hispanic individuals.

Views on deportation show an even split, with 45 percent saying that the record breaking number of deportations — 419,384 for the 2012 fiscal year — is a good thing, while 45 percent say it is a bad thing, and 9 percent are unsure. Republicans were more likely to be supportive of deportation increases than Democrats, and 60 percent of Hispanics considered the increase negative, to 35 percent positive, compared to Whites who showed 49 percent saying the increase in deportations was good, and 42 percent saying it was a bad thing.

Finally, PewResearch examined citizenship options, and found that of the 1,821 adults polled between February 14 and 23, 73 percent said that those in the United States should have a way to remain, should they meet requirements, leaving 24 percent in opposition. Still, 46 percent did not think that legal citizenship should be an option.

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