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CNN Poll: Support for border crackdown grows

By the CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) -- Public support for beefing up security along the U.S. border with Mexico and deporting all illegal immigrants has grown significantly, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that nearly nine out of ten Americans want to beef up U.S. law enforcement along the border with Mexico. The poll's Wednesday morning release comes one day after an administration official told CNN that President Barack Obama will deploy up to 1,200 more National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico and will request $500 million to supplement current spending for enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities.

Forty-one percent of people questioned in the survey say all illegal immigrants currently in the country should be removed, up 15 points from 2008. And 88 percent say more federal law enforcement officials are need along the border with Mexico, up 14 points from four years ago. The poll also indicates that 54 percent back a 700-mile-long fence along the Mexican border, up nine points from 2006.

"Support for more crackdowns on employers who hire illegal immigrants is high and also on the rise, from 58 percent four years ago to 71 percent now," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Seven in ten would support a federal ID card that everyone would have to show to an employer."

Eight in ten also support a program that would allow illegal immigrants already in the United States to stay here and apply for legal residency if they had a job and paid back taxes. But only 38 percent say that program should be a higher priority than border security and other get-tough proposals.

"Americans want to crack down on illegal immigrants, but that same anger does not extend to immigrants who are in this country legally," adds Holland. "Overall, three-quarters say that the number of illegal immigrants should be reduced. But when it comes to legal immigrants, two-thirds say the number in the United States should remain the same and a quarter think that number should increase; only 3 percent want to deport all legal immigrants."

According to the poll, 57 percent support Arizona's controversial new immigration law, in line with other recent national polls. Only 17 percent say they would participate in a boycott of Arizona as a result of that legislation.

The recently enacted Arizona law initially allowed police to ask anyone for proof of legal U.S. residency, based solely on a police officer's suspicion that the person might be in the country illegally. Arizona lawmakers soon amended the law so that officers could check a person's status only if the person had been stopped or arrested for another reason.

Critics insist the law will lead to racial profiling; supporters deny the charge and insist the measure is needed to crack down on increasing crime involving illegal immigrants.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 21-23, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report