News

Most Americans see unaccompanied immigrant kids as refugees

Most Americans see unaccompanied immigrant kids as refugees

BORDER BATTLE:Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, in Brownsville, Texas June 18. Photo: Reuters/Eric Gay

(Reuters) – Some 70 percent of Americans think the United States should provide temporary support and housing for unaccompanied Central American minors who illegally cross into the country while their cases undergo review, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

Across political leanings and religious backgrounds, most Americans believe the recent influx of immigrant children should be treated like refugees if authorities think they cannot be returned home safely rather than face immediate deportation, according to the poll by the Public Religion Research Institute.

The findings come as the United States struggles to cope with a mounting influx of newcomers, mostly from crime-plagued Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The rush of people is overwhelming immigration resources and leading to scattered protests from people angry at the government for housing border crossers in their communities.

Democrats and youth were most compassionate toward the immigrant children, with roughly 80 percent of both groups saying the government should support them until their cases are fully reviewed. Seniors, white Protestants and Republicans were the least welcoming, though all groups showed majority support.

Roughly 80 percent of those polled considered the spiking numbers of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border in recent months a serious problem or crisis, compared to just one in five who thought it was only a minor problem.

Despite broad agreement on the issues surrounding unaccompanied minors, there was a growing view that immigrants hurt the country by taking jobs, housing and healthcare services meant for U.S. citizens.

In the most recent round of polling, 42 percent of respondents considered immigrants a burden, up from 35 percent earlier in the month. And only 49 percent believed that immigrants strengthened the country, down from 55 percent at the start of the month.

“There is evidence that recent events are impacting what Americans think about immigrants generally,” said Daniel Cox, PRRI Research Director.

There was still majority support however for legislation that would open a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, with 58 percent of those polled backing such a policy.

The poll surveyed 1,026 adults in the month of July, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in New York; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Recent Headlines

in National, World

Climate plan shows U.S. ‘can change the world’

23-overlay1

The plan, which also mandates a shift to renewable energy from coal-fired electricity, is meant to put the U.S. in a strong position at international talks in Paris later this year on reaching a deal to curb global warming.

in Lifestyle

Fitness experts warn of the pitfalls of going to exercise extremes

crossfit

With challenging workouts from ultra-marathons to endurance events on obstacle courses all the rage, fitness experts say more and more weekend warriors are leaping into extreme activities before looking into the perils of overdoing it.

in Sports

After death of 9-year-old, no more bat boys and girls

13-overlay2

The National Baseball Congress is suspending the use of bat boys and girls during its World Series in Kansas following the death of a 9-year-old boy who was hit by a bat.

in Sports

WATCH: WWE salutes the late ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper

12-overlay1

One of the most iconic wrestlers in the history of the WWE died last week at the age of 61.

in National

More fights ahead on Planned Parenthood after Senate vote

12-overlay

Now that the Senate has derailed Republican legislation halting federal dollars for Planned Parenthood, one thing seems clear: Many on both sides think they can ring up gains from the battle.