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Poll: Americans want fewer illegal immigrants in U.S.

  • Story Highlights
  • 3 in 10 say all illegal immigrants should be deported, CNN poll says
  • Poll: Races differ on whether police should turn over illegal immigrants
  • Blacks and whites oppose giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants
  • Telephone poll taken of 1,212 people and conducted Friday through Sunday
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Most Americans would like there to be fewer illegal immigrants in the country, but only three in 10 say all of them should be deported, a CNN Opinion Research poll said Wednesday.

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A crowd in Manassas, Virginia, where officials are weighing a controversial immigration measure.

Seven percent of those polled said they would like to see the number of illegal immigrants increase, 22 percent said they would like the number to remain the same, 16 percent want it decreased "a little" and 22 percent want it decreased "a lot," according to the poll of 1,212 adult Americans.

Blacks and whites differed over whether the number of illegal immigrants should be increased, with 14 percent of African-Americans saying it should, versus 3 percent of whites.

Nineteen percent of blacks said they thought all illegal immigrants should be removed from the country; 35 percent of whites said that.

Blacks and whites overwhelmingly oppose state governments issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, with 76 percent of blacks and 83 percent of whites taking that stance, the poll said.

The races differed more on whether state and local police should turn over illegal immigrants they encounter, even if the immigrants have broken no state or local laws. In such cases, 45 percent of blacks and 61 percent of whites said they believe police should turn over illegal immigrants.

Asked whether people who cannot read or write English should be allowed to vote, 54 percent of blacks said they should, versus 43 percent of whites.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated voting barriers such as a literacy test.

On a related topic, the public appeared split on foreign trade -- 46 percent said they see trade more as an opportunity for economic growth, whereas 45 percent said they see it as a threat to the U.S. economy. Five percent said they see it as both an opportunity and a threat.

The telephone poll was carried out Friday through Sunday and had a sampling error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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