Public opinion is evenly divided on the increase in deportations of immigrants living in the country illegally, a new poll finds. 

According to a Pew Research poll, 45 percent of people think the increase is a good thing, while the same amount think it is a bad thing. Another 9 percent say they do not know. 


When broken down, the numbers unsurprisingly fall on demographic and party lines. 

Fifty-five percent of Republicans see the deportations as a good thing, and 65 percent of those who associated with the Tea Party feel the same. 

Among independents, 46 percent see it as a good thing, while 43 percent do not. 

On the Democratic end, 53 percent describe it as a bad thing, while 37 percent support the deportations. 

Democrats have been the most vocal in their criticism, complaining that the Obama administration has deported nearly 2 million people, the most of any administration. 

Deportations reached their highest level at more than 400,000 in the year of 2012. That year, the administration took steps to remove the risk of deportation for children who were brought to the country illegally. 

However, Obama has been more hesitant to consider some Democrats’ and immigration advocates’ demands to do the same with the larger, general population of illegal immigrants. 

Hispanics — a key block that voted for Obama in 2012 with 70 percent of the vote — are most against the increase in deportations, with 60 percent opposing them. Whites are more inclined to see it as a good thing. 

While the House GOP leadership released broad principles on immigration reform earlier this month, a deal seems unlikely before of the midterm elections. 

The poll shows the public’s attitude on the issue has changed little since last year. Forty-nine percent of people continue to see immigration reform as important, down a single point since last June. 

The number of Democrats who see reform as very important, 60 percent, has increased 7 points in the last year. However, the number of Republicans who see reform as extremely important, 46 percent, has decreased 4 points.

A total of 73 percent of people believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to remain in the country, with 46 percent supporting a path to citizenship while 24 percent want permanent residency. 

The poll surveyed 1,821 people last week and has a 2.6-percentage point margin of error.