Home |  Politics |  Business |  Lifestyle |  Commentary |  What America Thinks

5% Think Feds Very Likely to Seal Border if New Immigration Law Passes

Most voters continue to put more border control first in any immigration reform plan, but fewer than ever trust the federal government to actually control the border if a new plan is passed. Voters also lean toward a go-slow piece-by-piece approach to immigration reform over a comprehensive bill.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 25% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is even somewhat likely that the federal government will actually secure the border and prevent illegal immigration if that’s part of new immigration legislation. Sixty-five percent (65%) consider it unlikely. This includes only five percent (5%) who say the government is Very Likely to secure the border if it’s part of legislation that would give legal status to those already here illegally and 24% who feel it’s Not At All Likely. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Confidence in the likelihood of the federal government actually securing the border fell to a previous low of 28% in late June from a high of 45% in January. This skepticism continues to be perhaps the biggest problem immigration reformers face.

Republicans want proof that the border has been secured to prevent further illegal immigration before allowing legalization of those now here illegally to go forward. The president believes the legalization process and the implementation of more border security should take place at the same time.

But only 18% of voters believe those who are now in this country illegally should be granted legal status right away. Sixty-two percent (62%) disagree and think legalization should come only after the border is secured. Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure. These attitudes are unchanged from past surveys.

Voters are evenly divided over the immigration plan passed by the U.S. Senate that would further secure the border and give most of those who entered the country illegally legal status to stay here. Forty percent (40%) favor such a plan, while 40% oppose it. Twenty percent (20%) are undecided.

Support for the plan stood at 53% in early September when voters were asked, “If you knew that the border would really be secured to prevent future illegal immigration, would you favor or oppose this plan?”

Twenty-nine percent (29%) think the House of Representatives should pass the comprehensive immigration reform plan already approved by the Senate. But 44% believe the House should review that legislation piece by piece and approve only the parts it likes. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are undecided.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 20-21, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters agree with the president that it is at least somewhat important for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year, with 33% who say it’s Very Important. Twenty-nine percent (29%) don’t share that sense of urgency, including 12% who say it’s Not At All Important to pass immigration reform legislation this year.

Just 28%, however, think it is even somewhat likely that comprehensive legislation will pass the Senate and the House and be signed by the president this year.

As with most major issues these days, there are sharp partisan differences of opinion. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Democrats, for example, favor the comprehensive plan passed by the Senate that includes more border security and a pathway to citizenship for those here illegally, but 69% of Republicans oppose it. Voters not affiliated with either major party approve of the plan by a much narrower 45% to 39% margin.

Eighty-four percent (84%) of GOP voters and 70% of unaffiliateds feel legalization should come only after the border is secured to prevent future illegal immigration, but just 40% of Democrats agree.

Most voters in all three groups think the federal government is unlikely to follow through and actually secure the border if the new law is passed. But Republicans and unaffiliated voters are a lot more skeptical than Democrats are.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of the Political Class believe the government is likely to secure the border, but 71% of Mainstream voters disagree.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters who favor the Senate bill want the House to pass it as is. Seventy-two percent (72%) of those who oppose that bill want the House to go through it piece by piece and approve only the parts it likes.

California recently became the latest state to authorize driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, but 68% of voters think illegal immigrants should not be eligible for driver’s licenses in their state.

Only 32% now believe that if a woman comes to this country illegally and gives birth to a child here, that child should automatically become a U.S. citizen. That's the lowest level of support for the current U.S. policy to date.

But 45% say if a family is not in the country legally, their children should still be allowed to attend public school. Forty-two percent disagree.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) believe that immigration when done within the law is good for America.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free) or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.


The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 20-21, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

View non-mobile site