New poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly believe border security must be included in any immigration bill

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, June 25, 2013

It looks like the American people agree with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in that the government needs to improve the nation’s borders before the government can even think about giving the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants amnesty.

According to a new poll released Tuesday by USA Today/Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans back believe that any legislation passed in Washington much include measures to increase border security. Moreover, 43 percent of adults will only support amnesty for illegal immigrants if effective border control has been established.

In addition, a majority of Americans believe that providing illegal immigrants with even a pathway to citizenship is akin to rewarding them for entering the country without permission. The study found that 54 percent of adults believe that granting illegal immigrants legal status is rewarding them for illegal behaviors, while 64 percent of Americans said that granting those already in the U.S. legal status only encourages others to enter the country illegally in the hopes of becoming an American citizen.

For the most part, Americans support many of the provisions in the Senate’s bill. The study found that 56 percent of adults believe that illegal immigrants should be required to pay fines – and presumably back taxes – before they can start the citizenship process. In addition, 55 percent agreed with the bill’s requirement that illegal immigrants wait 10 years before they can apply to be permanent residents of the U.S.

The Senate is expected to vote on S.744, the Gang of Eight’s bill, sometime this week. While it is anticipated that the bill could pass the Senate with a majority of around 70 votes, it is widely considered to be “dead on arrival” in the House because conservative Republicans do not believe it does enough to secure the nation’s borders. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced last week that he will abide by the “Hastert Rule” on the bill, meaning that he won’t bring it up for debate unless it’s supported by a majority of Republicans in the chamber.

USA Today/Pew Research Center surveyed 1,512 adults on June 12-16. The margin of error for the study is +/- 2.9 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

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