POLITICS

Public Favors Tough Border Control, Path To Citizenship - But Against Ending Birthright Citizenship, Report Says

Immigration rights demonstrators hold a U.S. flag aloft during a march along Wilshire Boulevard, Monday, May 1, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Stefano Paltera)

Immigration rights demonstrators hold a U.S. flag aloft during a march along Wilshire Boulevard, Monday, May 1, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Stefano Paltera)

The American public's view on immigration is a nuanced one, a new report says.

Though the majority of people continue to favor tough immigration measures, they see no contradiction in also supporting a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Most Americans are also against ending "birthright citizenship."

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press report found that the largest group, 42 percent of the 1,385 people surveyed, are in favor of both tighter border security and more strictly enforced immigration laws as well as a path to citizenship for the undocumented. 

For the rest of those surveyed, 35 percent believe the priority should be only tough security and enforcement and 21 percent believe a path to citizenship should be the top priority when it comes to immigration.

Illegal immigration measures continue to be hot-button issues across the country. Mississippi recently passed its own version of Arizona-style immigration law while a similar immigration bill in Colorado died.

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Americans are most opposed to the idea of changing the constitution to bar the children of illegal immigrants from becoming citizens, or ending birthright citizenship. Nearly six in ten, or 57 percent, oppose changing the Constitution for this purpose, a figure that has changed little since 2006, the report said.

The public remains supportive of Arizona's immigration law. Just over 60 percent approve of the legislation. And Tuesday, Arizona took another step in its crackdown on illegal immigration when the Arizona Senate Committee narrowly passed controversial immigration and birthright citizenship bills.

The study concluded with a look at how Americans perceive the impact of illegal immigration and where the issue registers as a national priority.

About 40 percent of those polled say their biggest concern is that immigration places a burden on government services, while 27 percent say their top worry is that it hurts American jobs. Far fewer say their biggest concerns are that illegal immigration contributes to crime (9 percent) or hurts America's customs and its way of life.

A January report found that 46 percent of people say illegal immigration is a top priority, far behind the economy at 87 percent and jobs at 84 percent.

Not surprisingly, opinions about dealing with illegal immigration reflect partisan divisions. Sixty one percent of Republicans cited dealing with illegal immigration as a top policy priority, compared with 47 percent of Independents and just 33 percent of Democrats.

Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at Adrian.Carrasquillo@foxnewslatino.com.

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