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How Californians View Illegal Immigration Problems

California is one of the hotspots in the country for immigration, legal or otherwise. Politicians are infamous for pointing to the state to use as “case-winning points” in their arguments. The interesting thing is that some think it is a prime example as to why we need stronger immigration control while others contend the exact opposite, viewing Southern California as the main reason as to why illegal immigrants should be welcomed with open arms.

What do Californians believe, though? How has illegal immigration reshaped the minds, hearts, and attitudes of the people who actually live in the state? The Los Angeles Times and USC Dornsife recently used a statewide poll to get the answer.

Mixed Results in Uncertain Times

According to the poll, which is discussed in a full LA Times article here, 62% of Californian voters felt that illegal immigration in California is a big problem, and 23% would go as far as to call it a crisis that requires immediate attention. Only 36% believed it was a manageable problem, or not actually something to be concerned over at all. With two-thirds of the state decidedly opposed to illegal immigration, it must spell pretty bad news for undocumented workers and residents, right?

Not necessarily. About 75% of those polled believed that an immigrant who is already in California, whether they got here through legal channels or not, should be permitted to stay. 65% wanted all immigrants to apply for citizenship, and 14% thought that they should not be permitted citizenship but should be allowed to legally work, supplying income taxes to the state. Just 16% thought that total deportation was the solution – quite a contrast to the 62% who think illegal immigration is a pressing issue.

Why the Divide in the Survey?

How can it be that so many Californians think illegal immigration is a real problem for the state but do not want to see a widespread deportation event? How can it be that so many actually have no problem with undocumented immigrants staying in the states once they arrive? The answer may lie in the age demographics of the survey conducted by the LA Times. At least half of the people surveyed who were between the ages 18 and 39 felt that it was not a problem. Young voters, especially in California, have been trending towards liberal legislation, and immigration reform or laws is not an exception.

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