Sarah Jean Seman

Remember Ellis Island? More than 12 million immigrants were processed there off the coast of New York between the years 1892 and 1924. The amalgamation of cultures crafted America. Yet even during the country’s early formation there were checks on who entered America. For many Ellis Island was the “Island of Hope,” the National Park Services noted, while for others who were denied entry into America it became an "Island of Tears."

There are some who would use the history of immigration in America to support more lenient policies. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, however, found that the majority of Americans fear our current border crisis could end up destroying the culture we know today.

Seventy percent of Americans - including 86 percent of Republicans - believe undocumented immigrants threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs, according to the poll.

The findings suggest immigration could join Obamacare - the healthcare insurance overhaul - and the economy as hot button issues that encourage more Republicans to vote in November's congressional election.

With Congress failing to agree on broad immigration reforms, Obama could act alone in the next few weeks to give work permits to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants and delay some deportations, according to media reports.

Hispanic and liberal voters would welcome that, but the online survey suggests much of the rest of the nation may not.

Despite arguments from the White House and groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that legal immigration benefits business, 63 percent of people in the online survey also said immigrants place a burden on the economy.

An additional poll by WJS/NBC found that 51 percent of Americans believe illegal immigrants should be “returned immediately.”

The votes may be in, but it will doubtless take quite some time before the trespassers are out.


Sarah Jean Seman

Sarah Jean Seman is a Townhall Web Editor. Follow Sarah Jean Seman on Twitter @sarah_jean_

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography