New data from a Republican pollster shows most likely voters oppose the idea of letting President Barack Obama reshape immigration rules on his own, and support tougher immigration measures backed by conservative Republicans.
For example, the poll finds clear support for deporting the thousands of immigrant children pouring across the southern U.S. border, and opposition to plans by President Barack Obama to extend legal status for millions of illegal immigrants already in the country.
President Barack Obama is planning another unilateral initiative to ease immigration rules, but a new poll shows most voters don't support that action. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
It also finds that most support efforts to ensure current U.S. residents — instead of future immigrants — benefit from gain any new jobs created in the coming years, and that most support increased border enforcement.
The poll from Kellyanne Conway is expected to be touted by Republicans in Congress who have opposed attempts by Democrats to push for expanded legal status for millions. Many say that push, if successful, would make it even harder for unemployed Americans to find work, and lower wages across the country.
The findings are a blow to Obama, who continues to work on a plan that could provide legal status to millions of illegal residents. Many expect his plan to extend legal status to people beyond the hundreds of thousands of younger immigrants that won't face deportation and can apply for a work permit under his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
While Democrats have said Hispanics support this sort of action from Obama, the Conway poll finds that most people want tougher enforcement of U.S. immigration law, including Hispanics.
"75 percent want more enforcement of current immigration laws, including 63 percent of Hispanics and over 50 percent of Democrats," according to a summary section of its findings.
"While President Obama is underwater in his job approval (57-40 percent), an even greater margin (two-thirds) of Americans disapprove of his handling of immigration," it added. "This includes one of his key constituencies, Hispanics, who disapprove of his job performance on immigration by 55 to 39 percent."
When asked if the 90,000 or so unaccompanied child immigrants that are expected to cross the southern U.S. border this year should be returned home or allowed to stay, 65 percent said they should be returned, and just 22 percent said they should be relocated around the United States.
When it came to the stark question of whether illegal immigrants should be returned home or given legal status, respondents were 70-20 in favor of returning them, with 9 percent undecided.
And by a 58-32 margin, people favored a plan of boosting immigration enforcement, returning child immigrants to their home countries, and restricting Obama's effort to legalize illegal immigrants by himself. That plan is a broad description of the plan passed in the House before it left for the August break — the Senate has yet to consider that plan, and didn't approve any bill before leaving.
When asked if President Obama should go around Congress to impose his own immigration reforms, only 21 percent said he should, and 74 percent said he should not. Liberals were the only group in which a majority favored Obama working alone, 52-44. Democrats were 40-56 against him working alone.
The question of how jobs should be distributed among residents and future immigrants led to some of the widest splits in the poll. A clear majority favored a plan to ensure U.S. workers and legal immigrants get new jobs over new immigrants, regardless of whether those immigrants entered legally or illegally.
When the question was asked about the possibly of jobs going to new legal immigrants, 77 percent said jobs should stay with those already in the United States. And when the idea of giving jobs to new illegal immigrants came up, 89 percent said jobs should stay with those already in the country.