A majority of people in the United States believe the unaccompanied children who have crossed the border illegally should be allowed to stay, at least for a while, a new poll suggests.
Fifty-one percent said the children who have been detained at the southern border in recent months should be allowed to remain in the U.S., according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Monday. This includes 38 percent who said the kids should be sheltered and cared for until they can safely return home.
Based on the survey, public opinion appears to be at odds with the Obama administration’s push to speed up deportations. President Obama had asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to review the government’s deportation policy earlier this year, but that evaluation has been delayed.
The poll found 13 percent said the children should be allowed to stay in the U.S., and 32 percent said the children should be deported immediately.
Since last October, nearly 63,000 children from Central America have crossed into the U.S. illegally.
Nearly half of Democrats said they believe the children should be cared for until they can safely return to Central America. Just under a third of Republicans said they felt the same way, as did 37 percent of independents.
Forty-one percent said they would support steps to temporarily relocate the children to their own communities, but 48 percent said they oppose such a move.
Obama, meanwhile, is expected to soon receive recommendations from Attorney General Eric Holder and Johnson about how he could use his executive authority to change the immigration system without action by Congress.
The poll surveyed 1,566 Americans online between July 31 and Aug. 5 with a 2.8 percentage point margin of error.