More than half of Georgians would support a program giving illegal immigrants the right to live here legally, if they pay a fine and meet other requirements, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows.
Of the 801 Georgian adults surveyed by telephone this month, 54 percent said they would support such a program, while 40 percent said they would oppose it. The rest didn’t know or did not answer the survey question.
The results may surprise some readers since Georgia has taken a hard-line approach to illegal immigration in recent years. In 2011, for example, the state followed Arizona’s lead and enacted a stringent enforcement law to crack down on the problem. A 2010 poll commissioned by the Georgia Newspaper Partnership showed strong sentiment among Georgians for such a law.
But Georgians are not alone in their opinions on this hot-button issue this year, national polling shows. In April, an Associated Press-GfK national telephone poll of 1,004 adults found 63 percent of Americans favor “providing a legal way for illegal immigrants already in the United States to become U.S. citizens.”
The new poll surveyed a random sample of Georgians across the state from Sept. 12-17, including but not limited to registered voters.
Half of those who said they would support giving illegal immigrants legal status said that should be allowed only after border control has been improved. Forty-two percent said legal status should not be linked to border control efforts.