Fox News Poll: Most voters say put border security before immigration reform

Most American voters want tougher new border security measures before changing immigration policies. A Fox News national poll released Wednesday also shows a majority favors giving illegal immigrants already in the United States a chance to qualify for citizenship.

On Tuesday, a Senate committee passed an immigration reform bill that would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.  The bill would also strengthen border security.  It now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

The provisions in the bill are popular with the public.


There’s widespread support for additional border security.  Moreover, 73 percent of voters say those measures should be completed before other changes to immigration policy go into effect.  That includes 82 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats.

Support for prioritizing border security is high among both white (73 percent) and non-white voters (74 percent).

In addition, most voters -- 66 percent -- favor a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently in the United States who pass background checks and pay back taxes.  Another 13 percent back a guest worker program to allow illegal immigrants to work in the country for a limited time.

About one voter in five favors deportation for all illegal immigrants (19 percent).

Majorities of Democrats (74 percent), independents (61 percent) and Republicans (60 percent), as well as whites (63 percent) and non-whites (74 percent) favor a path to citizenship.

By a 50-40 percent margin, more voters think a path to citizenship will help the economy.

On this there are partisan divisions, as Democrats and independents are more likely to say it will help the economy, while Republicans are more likely to say it will hurt.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,013 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from May 18 to May 20.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.