Most in US say illegal immigrants threaten way of life, economy

A majority of people in the United States say immigrants living in the U.S. illegally threaten their way of life and even the economy, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday. 

Seventy percent said they believe these illegal immigrants threaten U.S. customs and beliefs. Eighty-six percent of Republicans hold that belief.

Nearly two-thirds said illegal immigrants are a burden on the nation’s economy, the poll found. 

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The survey found 45 percent said the number of immigrants entering the country legally should be reduced, while 17 percent said more should be allowed to come. Thirty-eight percent said the current flow of legal immigration should remain the same. 

More people in New England oppose illegal immigration compared to the rest of the country, the poll said. Nearly 80 percent of people in that region said illegal immigrants threaten U.S. beliefs and customs.

The survey comes as the Obama administration mulls what President Obama could do to act unilaterally to change the immigration system, since Congress has failed to agree on comprehensive reform. 

Immigration has become a major political issue this summer because of the more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America who have crossed into the U.S. illegally since October.

The poll surveyed 2,014 Americans online from July 15-22 with a 2.5 percentage point margin of error.

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