NEW YORK – As Congress considers new comprehensive legislation on immigration, the latest FOX News poll finds that American voters think a better solution to the nation’s illegal immigration problem is to enforce the laws that are currently on the books.
A 58 percent majority says the United States needs to enforce the current laws, while 34 percent think the country’s immigration laws need to be completely overhauled.
Among Republicans, 65 percent think the solution to the illegal immigration problem is to enforce the country’s existing laws, while 62 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats feel this way.
Democrats (41 percent) are the most likely to say the immigration laws need to be overhauled.
There are few regional differences on this issue, though Southerners (61 percent) are more likely than those living elsewhere to support enforcing the existing laws over making major changes.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from June 5 to June 6. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
• Click here to see full results of the poll.
If it were possible to locate most of the illegal immigrants in the United States, half of Americans (51 percent) say they would favor setting up a system for them to become legal residents, though a sizable minority — 39 percent — favors deporting as many as possible.
Democrats favor setting up a system for legalizing (58 percent to 30 percent), while Republicans are slightly more likely to favor deportation (49 percent to 43 percent).
Support for allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the United States increases to 67 percent when referring to illegal immigrants who pay taxes and obey the law.
"There is a large increase in support for allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the country when specifically referring to those immigrants who pay taxes and obey the law," according to Opinion Dynamics Vice President Lawrence Shiman. This suggests that the perception that some illegal immigrants will not pay taxes or obey the law is an important part of the overall issue."
By 55 percent to 34 percent, Americans support the government raids on businesses that employ large numbers of illegal immigrants.
Finally, most Americans oppose giving Mexico special preference by allowing a larger number of Mexican immigrants to come to the United States. Fully 84 percent think Mexico should be treated the same as all other countries.