A majority support speeding up the deportation process for child migrants from Central America, even if some eligible for asylum get swept up as well, a new poll finds.
According to a Pew poll released Wednesday, 53 percent said the process should be sped up, while another 39 percent said the United States should follow current procedures, even if it means processing the children for deportation or asylum takes months. Another 8 percent are unsure.
The poll comes as more than 57,000 child migrants have been apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year, largely originating from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Some experts say the children could have to wait more than a year for a hearing before an immigration judge, because of the surge in migrants.
The Obama administration has signaled a willingness to make changes to a 2008 human trafficking law that allows migrants from countries that do not border the United States to get automatic asylum hearings, launching a lengthy process.
Republicans want to tie changes to the law to funding Obama has requested to deal with the border crisis, however, some Democrats have balked at the idea.
The administration has punted on the issue, saying it is up to Congress to decide how to handle the human trafficking law.
Some lawmakers said the current law gives the administration the authority to speed up processing of the migrants on its own.
Only about 3 in 10 people support President Obama's handling of the issue, while 56 percent disapprove, the poll finds.
However, his approval rating is largely unaffected by the surge of child immigrants. Forty-four percent approve of the president, a number which has remained steady much of the year.
The poll also finds a large majority continues to support a path to legal status for immigrants who are in the country illegally, but that number has dropped in recent months among Republicans.
Support among Republicans dropped 10 points since February and now stands at 54 percent. Among people who identify with the Tea Party, 56 percent now oppose a path to legalization — a drop of 15 percent.
The poll surveyed 1,805 people from July 8-14 and has a 2.7 percent margin of error.