Most Americans believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to become guest workers and eventually U.S. citizens, but Congress should do more to close the border to stop more illegals entering the country, according to a new poll published on Tuesday.
The nationwide poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, found that by a margin of 69 percent to 27 percent, American voters say illegal immigrants should be allowed into a guest worker program with the ability to work toward citizenship over a period of several years. Such a guest worker program had wide support among voters of all political stripes.
But 71 percent of voters said Congress must do more to deal with illegal immigrants entering the country.
"Two-thirds of Americans favor a guest-worker program with a path to citizenship," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Maybe a lot of Americans think back to the stories of their own immigrant families."
"But Americans also want to close the borders to keep out illegal immigrants in the future," Carroll added. "There are big margins for a tougher border policy among all parties and among men and women."
Sixty-five percent of American voters support — and 32 percent oppose — laws in their own community to fine businesses hiring illegal immigrants, according to the poll.
"Americans think more needs to be done to deal with illegal immigration, and they want it done in their own neighborhoods as well," Carroll said.
The poll was conducted from November 13 to 19 among 1,623 registered voters and had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.
© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved