Californians hold positive views of illegal immigrants

Californians hold positive views of illegal immigrants and most oppose deportation of them, a newly released poll showed.

Of those polled, 48 percent of voters likely to cast ballots in November said immigrants are a benefit to the state, 36 percent said they strongly held that view and 59 percent said illegal immigrants who have held a job here for two years should be allowed to stay, according to the poll published on Sunday.

Only 32 percent said immigrants overall were a burden to California because of their impact on public services, and only 22 percent felt that way strongly, said the poll, jointly conducted by The Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California.

When asked whether illegal immigrants should be deported, only 30 percent of likely voters thought the illegal immigrant should be deported, and only 19 percent backed that option strongly.

Liberals were most supportive of immigrants legal and illegal, with 75 percent saying immigrants were a benefit and 81 percent saying that working illegal immigrants should be able to keep their jobs. Voters under 45 agreed, with 59 percent saying immigrants were beneficial and 68 percent calling for illegal immigrants to keep their jobs rather than be deported.

Among conservative likely voters, 52 percent felt immigrants were a burden and 25 percent felt they were a benefit. Conservatives were the only group that leaned more toward deportation — by a narrow two-percentage-point margin.

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