Poll shows Arizonans still see illegal immigration as problem

Arizonans largely continue to see illegal immigration as a major problem but believe undocumented immigrants should be treated humanely, according to a poll by ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“Arizonans remain sharply divided on the issue of immigration, mostly according to their political party but perhaps surprisingly not much according to their ethnicity,” said David Daugherty, associate director of Morrison Institute and director of the statewide poll.

Approaches to illegal immigration run the gamut – from strict deportation measures to a pathway to citizenship – but the nine out of 10 Arizonans agree (64 percent) or strongly agree (25 percent) that “undocumented immigrants are a problem, but Arizona needs to treat them humanely.”

For most questions, respondents were asked their level of agreement – strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree – regarding a series of statements.

Arizonans seem to be somewhat conflicted on issues surrounding undocumented immigrants, including when asked whether they agree or disagree with the following statement: “Undocumented immigrants bolster Arizona’s workforce and we should do whatever’s necessary to make it easier for them to come to Arizona.”

Sixty-one percent either disagree (41 percent) or strongly disagree (19 percent) with that statement. Republicans are much more likely to either disagree (47 percent) or strongly disagree (31 percent) than either Democrats (30 percent and 13 percent) or Independents (45 percent and 11 percent). While whites (64 percent) are more likely than Latinos (51 percent) to disagree with the statement, the difference is not dramatic.

Overall, Arizonans are split on whether to pursue aggressive deportation. Fifty-two percent either agree (32 percent) or strongly agree (19 percent) with the following statement: “Arizona should aggressively pursue the deportation of undocumented immigrants.”

Two-thirds of Republicans (67 percent) either agree or strongly agree with the statement encouraging aggressive deportation of undocumented immigrants, compared with 35 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Independents. Yet, there is no significant difference in responses to this statement from whites (53 percent) and Latinos (47 percent).

Slightly more than one-quarter (28 percent) of Arizona adults agree or disagree with the following statement: “I feel less safe because of all the undocumented immigrants living in the state.”

While Republicans are more likely to agree (25 percent) or strongly agree (12 percent) with the statement than either Democrats (11 percent and 9 percent) or Independents (15 percent, 10 percent), the differences are not notable.

Full poll results and findings are available at morrisoninstitute.asu.edu.

Marshall Terrill, ASU

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