A poll released Wednesday shows that nearly 60 percent of Americans support Arizona's controversial new immigration law. 

59 percent of respondents said they back the law in a Pew Research Center survey, while 32 percent said they oppose it.


The law requires that state and local law enforcement check the identification of people they suspect are in the country illegally, as long as they are stopped for other reasons.

Republicans support the law far more than Democrats do, 82 to 45 percent. A solid majority of independents, 64 percent, said they back it.

The law caused a stir on Capitol Hill; several lawmakers have called on Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, and critics have said it could lead to racial profiling.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said she signed the law because the federal government has not protected the border and maintained it will not lead to profiling.

The public also expressed support for individual aspects of the law; 73 percent said they support requiring people to produce documents verifying their legal status, 67 percent want police to arrest people who cannot produce appropriate documents and 62 percent support police questioning anyone they believe is in the country illegally.

President Barack Obama also received low ranks on immigration. Twenty-five percent approve of his handling of the issue while 54 percent disapprove. 21 percent said they do not know.

Pew polled 994 adults nationally from May 6-9.