Protesters of Arizona's crack-down on illegal immigrants are raising American voter awareness of the need for reforms - reforms agriculture has been trying to procure from Washington for years. That's the bottom line of a Zogby Interative poll released last week. The poll of 2,108 adults reached these conclusions:
• 72% believe major immigration reform is needed, with 20% wanting minor reform, 5% no reform at all and 3% not sure.
• 66% want their Congressional representative to support immigration regulations that are more restrictive, compared to 24% who prefer more open regulations.
• 71% support guest worker programs where foreign workers come for a fixed period of time and then return to their home countries when their permits expire.
• 49% consider illegal aliens who live and work in the U.S. to be a burden; 16% say they are a benefit; 33% chose neither or both as responses.
Smaller gaps on bigger issues
When the pollsters broke out results based on affinity groups, America's diversity clearly showed:
• When asked to choose between creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants or toughening existing laws, deporting illegal immigrants and prosecuting those who employ them, 61% chose the tougher measures and 31% the path to citizenship. But 67% of self-identified liberals preferred the citizenship path.
• 79% don't agree that illegal aliens are entitled to the same rights and basic freedoms as U.S. citizens. Self-identified liberals were the only ideological group where more agree (49%) than disagree (46%) that illegal aliens have those rights.
• 60% agree that U.S. law should protect the basic human rights of illegal aliens. Groups in which a majority disagrees include Republicans (60%), those 65 and older (52%), Born-Again Christians (52%) and conservatives (64%).
• 58% of liberals want more open rules. Democrats and younger adults prefer more restrictions smaller margins – 44% and 47% respectively.