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Q U I C K  T A K E

AMERICA IS A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS, and with more than 1 million arriving a year, the past decade has seen the greatest rise in immigration since the great wave of 1901-10. However, a growing backlash against immigrants -exemplified by California's controversial Proposition 187- could make this a critical issue in the 1996 presidential election. Though regional, the issue stirs passion in electoral-rich states like Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Illinois, New York and California. Should the federal government curtail public assistance to illegal immigrants? To legal immigrants as well, that is, until they obtain full citizenship? Is America's national character threatened by too much immigration? Candidates will need to take positions on these questions as well as on new federal legislation barring public assistance to legal immigrants. The issue cuts across party lines with some conservatives viewing immigrants as an economic boon, while others worry about cultural assimilation. Meanwhile, liberals (and some conservatives) are split between wanting to protect the jobs of native-born citizens, versus the ideal of embracing all newcomers.
P U B L I C  O P I N I O N
  • Some people feel that America should keep its doors open to people who wish to immigrate to the United States because that is what our heritage is all about. Others feel that this philosophy is no longer reasonable and we should strictly limit the number of people who immigrate. Which of these positions comes closest to your opinion?
  • 9/21/94 9/93 5/85
    Keep doors open 20 24 27
    Strictly limit immigration 77 73 67
    Not sure 3 3 5

    TIME/CNN Poll, conducted September 21-22, 1994.

  • Do you favor or oppose a proposal to stop giving such government assistance as welfare, housing, job training, and income security payments to legal immigrants who are not U.S. citizens?
    Favor 47 49 47 45
    Oppose 49 49 50 48
    Not sure 4 2 3 7

    TIME/CNN Poll, conducted December 7-8, 1994

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