Fox News poll: Most support strengthening borders before other immigration reforms

Large majorities of American voters favor strengthening border security to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country, and creating a path to citizenship for those already here.

A Fox News national poll released Monday finds 84 percent of voters favor stricter border security, while fewer than one in seven oppose it (13 percent).

Support is also strong for creating a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as long as they meet certain requirements such as paying back taxes, learning English and passing a background check.  Some 72 percent of voters favor that, while 25 percent are opposed.

Click here for full poll results.

Despite large numbers favoring both of these policies, there are significant partisan differences.  For example, Republicans are 15 percentage points more likely than Democrats to favor strengthening the borders (92 percent and 77 percent, respectively).

On the other hand, Democrats are 19 points more inclined than Republicans to favor a path to citizenship (82 percent and 63 percent, respectively).

A bipartisan group of senators released a plan for comprehensive immigration reform in late January that said the creation of a path to citizenship is “contingent upon securing our borders.”

People think that’s a good idea. The new poll finds that by an edge of 69 percent to 25 percent, most voters favor requiring completion of new border security measures first -- before making other changes to immigration policy. In addition, to varying degrees, majorities of Republicans (81 percent), Democrats (62 percent) and independents (60 percent) all favor strengthening the borders first.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,010 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from February 25 to February 27.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.