A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken last weekend of 1,007 people found that 78 percent of respondents feel people now in the country illegally should be given a chance at citizenship. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Disagreements about the fate of the nation's illegal residents were a major factor in the deadlock that kept Congress from enacting an immigration bill last year, despite the support of key Democratic and Republican leaders, as well as President Bush. The president and members of his Cabinet, including Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, have said it would be prohibitively expensive to deport all the nation's illegal residents.
But many conservatives strongly oppose putting illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.
"You'd be rewarding them for breaking our laws,"said Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif.
Supporters of a plan to give illegal immigrants a chance to stay in the United States expect smoother sailing for legislation in a Democrat-controlled Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has set aside the last two weeks of May for debate on an immigration bill; House Democrats hope to act before the August recess.
Talk Show America 6/4/2007