New Poll: Majority of Americans Want Illegal Immigrants to Head Back to Home Countries

Katie Pavlich

2/7/2013 7:20:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

A new poll released by the Center for Immigration Studies shows the majority of likely voters simply want illegal immigrants to head back to their home countries.

A new poll using neutral language — and avoiding the false choice of conditional legalization vs. mass
deportations
— finds that most Americans want illegal immigrants to return to their home counties,
rather than be given legal status. The findings also show a very large gap in intensity, with those who want
illegal immigrants to head home feeling much stronger about that option than those who would like to see illegal
immigrants receive legal status.

•Of likely voters, 52 percent responded that they preferred to see illegal immigrants in the United States go
back to their home countries, compared to just 33 percent who would like them to be given legal status.

•There is an enormous gap in intensity between the two views on immigration. Of those who want illegal
immigrants to head home, 73 percent indicated that they felt “very strongly” about that view, while just 35
percent of those who want illegal immigrants to get legal status said they felt very strongly about this view.

It is important to stress voluntarily "heading home" is not the same thing as forced deportation. This data is interesting considering we've seen many polls in the past few weeks stating a majority of Americans believe illegals should be given a path citizenship with border security coming first. When you combine the two types of data together, it seems the majority of Americans want illegals to head home but realistically understand that won't happen and therefore settle with citizenship after border enforcement for the 12 million+ illegals already here. Lack of enforcement as this poll also shows, is a serious problem for voters when it comes to promoting illegal immigration and preventing it in the future.

•One reason the public may prefer that illegals head home is a strong belief that efforts to enforce immigration
laws have been inadequate — 64 percent said that enforcement of immigration laws has been “too little”,
while just 10 percent said that it had been too much, and 15 percent said it was “just right”.

•When asked why there is a large illegal population in the country, voters overwhelming    (71 percent) thought    
it was because we had not made a real effort to enforce our immigration laws. Only 18 percent said it was
because we were not letting in enough immigrants legally.

•Another that “giving legal status to illegal immigrants does not solve the problem because rewarding law breaking will only encourage more illegal immigration.” Just 26 percent disagreed.

•When just 27 percent expressed confidence that there would be enforcement, while 70 percent indicated that they
were not confident immigration law would be enforced.

•Enforcement remains politically very popular. Of likely voters, 53 percent indicated that they would be more
likely to support a political party that supports enforcing immigration laws vs. only 32 percent who said they
would be more likely to support a party that supports legalization.