‘Borders First’ a Dividing Line in Immigration Debate

Jun 23, 2013

As the Senate works toward a compromise on immigration reform, the emerging proposal addresses two widely-held public goals. Broad majorities – across party lines – continue to support a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. And large majorities also say this legislation must include increased border security.

But the public is divided on an issue that has been among the most contentious in Congress – whether border security must be achieved before the process of legalization can go forward. The national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted June 12-16 among 1,512 adults, finds that 43% say that people in the U.S. illegally should be allowed to seek legal status only after effective border control is established, while 49% say this can occur while border security improvements are being made.

Republicans and Democrats are on opposite sides of this issue: 60% of Democrats say border improvements and applications for legal status can happen at the same time, while a majority of Republicans (56%) say the borders must effectively be controlled first.

Read the full report on the Pew Research Center's for the People & the Press website.

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