81% Believe Legal Immigration Good for U.S. While 77% Say Illegal Immigration is Bad

Eighty-one percent (81%) of voters believe that legal immigration is good for the United States. At the same time, a ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that 77% believe that illegal immigration is bad.

These results have held steady in regular polling since last August. They confirm the reasonable assumption that most voters see a clear distinction between legal and illegal immigration.

Still, 21%believe the United States has no right to decide who is eligible to enter the country. They believe anyone who wants to live in the United States should be allowed entry. However, 79% disagree and take the opposite view. Additionally, 95% believe it is important that potential immigrants be required to go through customs and fill out appropriate entry papers. That total includes 73% who consider the process Very Important.


As you would expect with such levels of support, they are fairly consistent across partisan and demographic lines. Perhaps not surprisingly, Republicans are a bit softer in their praise of legal immigration and Democrats a bit less critical of illegal immigration. But, overall, there is far more common ground rather than division (see crosstab results).

Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters favor a plan to have government officials remove millions of illegal or undocumented immigrants from the United States. Thirty-six percent (36%) want to abolish ICE while 64% disagree. Thirty percent (30%) favor issuing drivers licenses to illegal/undocumented immigrants

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters nationwide believe that a child born in the United States to an illegal immigrant should be considered a U.S. citizen. However, just 32% believe the mother should be allowed to remain in the country. Overall, 75% believe that our immigration system should prioritize people with skills that could benefit the economy rather than granting legal status to people with relatives in the United States. That view is shared across partisan and demographic lines.

ScottRasmussen.com surveys on immigration topics twice every month. An April survey found that 58% believe those who enter the country illegally represent a national security threat. Nearly as many–53%– believe those who enter the country illegally reduce wages paid to American workers.

On the issue of immigration, voters overall are fairly evenly divided in terms of which party they trust. However, among those who consider it the most important issue, 64% trust Republicans more while 12% trust the Democrats.

Most voters support a wide range of measures to limit or prevent illegal immigration. That includes having the U.S. military defend the southern border of the United States, strict punishment for companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants, punishment for landlords that knowingly rent apartments to illegal immigrants, and cutting off federal funding for cities that refuse to co-operate with federal immigration officials. A smaller majority, 53%, favor building a wall along the southern border of the U.S.

Other data released recently shows that 72% favor comprehensive immigration reform to secure our borders and resolve the status of illegal immigrants already living in the country. If such legislation is passed, 57% want border security to be the top priority.

On a related topic, Republican voters name illegal immigration as the nation’s biggest national security threat.

ScottRasmussen.com conducts national opinion surveys on immigration at least twice a month. All new results will be highlighted on this page. 

We also provide daily updates on the president’s job approval and the generic congressional ballotweekly updates of economic confidence and frequent updates on health careimmigrationCongress, the Supreme Court, and trust in government.

We also release new public opinion data 4-8 times every day on topics in the news and items of interest (sign up to receive daily email updates). It’s all part of our mission to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us).

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The national survey of 1,001 Registered Voters was conducted April 16-17, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the demographic profile of our sample). It has a +/- 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

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