Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Survey: Majority says immigration policy is for the feds, not the states

Photo by Timothy Valentine/Flickr (Creative Commons)

As the handful of states that have enacted their own immigration laws in recent years weigh which way to go in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's SB 1070, a new survey suggests one reason why more states haven't gone the way of Arizona: Many Americans don't care to.

A recent tracking survey from the Public Religion Research Institute that measured attitudes on federal-vs.-state immigration policies, same-sex marriage and other hot button political issues found that more than three-fourths (77 percent) of those surveyed believed that immigration policy should be handled at the federal level, while only 20 percent said it should be left up to the states.

Respondents were more split on a different immigration question, one that asked whether young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children should be able to obtain legal status if they go to college or join the military - in other words, the goal of the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. More than half (55 percent) said they favored or strongly favored such a policy, while 41 percent said they opposed or strongly opposed it.

The Public Religion Research Institute is a research/education nonprofit  "dedicated to work at the intersection of religion, values, and public life," according to its website. Other recent research topics have included religious liberty and attitudes toward health care reform.

The survey questions and answers can be viewed here.