Public Divided Over Increased Deportation of Immigrants

Immigration legislation is stalled in the House, but the public continues to broadly support a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. At the same time, however, Americans are evenly divided over the growing number of undocumented immigrants who have been deported from the U.S. in recent years, with as many viewing this as a good thing as a bad thing (45% each).

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-4-48-55-pmThe total number of deportations reached a record number of 419,384 in fiscal year 2012, according to the Department of Homeland Security. With roughly three years left in Barack Obama’s second term, more than 1.6 million undocumented immigrants have been deported since he took office. In former President Bush’s eight years in office, two million were deported.

While opinion about the growing number of deportations is divided along partisan lines – with Republicans more supportive of the practice than Democrats –
there also are sizable differences between Hispanics and whites. By 60% to 35%, most Hispanics view the increased number of deportations negatively, while whites are more likely to see this trend as a good thing (49%) rather than bad (42%).

A survey conducted last fall by the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project found widespread concern over the threat of deportation among Hispanics. In fact, a majority of Hispanics (55%) said it was more important for undocumented immigrants to be able to work and live in the U.S. without the threat of deportation than to obtain a pathway to citizenship. About three quarters of the nation’s 11.7 million undocumented immigrants are Hispanic, according to Pew Research Center estimates.

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