Prove You're Here Legally Before Getting Gov’t Services, Voters Say

Christopher Neefus | April 22, 2011 | 3:55am EDT
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Four out of five likely voters in the poll said people should be required to show proof of legal presence in the U.S. before receiving any government services.

( – Most voters in the United States want stricter enforcement of immigration laws, and a vast majority say people should be required to prove they are in the country legally before receiving any federal, state or local services, according to a new poll.

“Before anyone receives local, state or federal government services, should they be required to prove they are legally allowed to be in the United States?” Rasmussen Reports asked likely voters.

Eighty-four percent of respondents answered in the affirmative, while nine percent disagreed.

“Most voters continue to feel that the policies of the federal government encourage illegal immigration,” Rasmussen commented.

In the same vein, the polling firm found that a solid majority oppose birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

It asked, “Suppose a woman enters the United States as an illegal alien and gives birth to a child in the United States. Should that child automatically become a citizen of the United States?”

No, said 61 percent of respondents, while 28 percent said yes, and percent were undecided. Under current law the child would automatically gain citizenship.

Sixty-three percent of unaffiliated voters, whom both party try to court each election season, agree with the majority that citizenship should not be automatic.

The pollster said the 61 percent result was “up slightly from last August but is the highest level of support for a change in the existing law found in five years of Rasmussen Reports surveying.”

Both questions came to prominence last year. In November, the California Supreme Court in a controversial ruling supported the right of illegal immigrants to get in-state tuition rates. The only requirement is that they are high school graduates and have spent three years at a California high school. Opponents say they plan to appeal the decision before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Regarding the birthright question, four Republican Senators introduced a bill on April 5 that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to curtail automatic citizenship.

Under their proposal, a baby born in the United States would receive citizenship only if at least one parent is a citizen, a legal resident, or a member of the U.S. armed forces.

America’s illegal immigration problem is clearly out of control,” said Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), one of the cosponsors of the bill.

Rasmussen reported the results of its poll on Tuesday, and then followed up with another poll Wednesday showing that a majority of likely voters, 63 percent, say securing the border should be the top priority, ahead of legalizing undocumented aliens currently in the country.

Both polls were conducted on April 17 and 18, and carry a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.


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