The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Public shifts toward prioritizing deportation, poll shows

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Americans have shifted their views on how they want the government to address undocumented immigrants, a new poll shows, moving away from embracing a path to legal status and toward deportation.

The new CNN/ORC International poll, released Thursday, shows that 51 percent of Americans say the primary focus of U.S. government when it comes to illegal immigration should be deporting illegal immigrants who are here and stopping more of them crossing the border. Just 45 percent say the priority should be finding a way to allow them to become legal residents.

In a poll released in February, 54 percent favored a path to legal status and 41 percent said stopping and deporting illegal immigrants should be the government's focus.

The new poll comes against the backdrop of a crisis on the Southwestern border that has gained national attention. Authorities have apprehended tens of thousands of children who crossed over illegally in recent months.

Independents are down 10 points on a path to legal status since the poll released on February and Republicans are down 11 points. Democrats are down eight points, but still 61 percent favor that option.

The poll was conducted from July 18-20.