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Quantitative Criminology.

One of the most important factors regarding public opinion about immigration is the level of unemployment; anti-immigrant sentiment is where unemployment is highest, and vice versa.[299]

Surveys indicate that the U.S. public consistently makes a sharp distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, and generally views those perceived as “playing by the rules” with more sympathy than immigrants that have entered the country illegally.[300]

According to a Gallup poll in July 2015, immigration is the fourth most important problem facing the United States and seven percent of Americans said it was the most important problem facing America today.[301] In March 2015, another Gallup poll provided insight into American public opinion on immigration; the poll revealed that 39% of people worried about immigration “a great deal.”[302] A January poll showed that only 33% of Americans were satisfied with the current state of immigration in America.[303] As an issue that is very important to Americans, polling reveals change in sentiment over time and diverse opinions regarding how to handle immigration.

Before 2012, majority of Americans supported securing United States borders compared to dealing with illegal immigrants in the United States. In 2013, that trend has reversed and 55% of people polled by Gallup revealed that they would choose “developing a plan to deal with immigrants who are currently in the U.S. illegally.” Changes regarding border control are consistent across party lines, with Republicans saying that “securing U.S. borders to halt flow of illegal immigrants” is extremely important decreasing from 68% in 2011 to 56% in 2014. Meanwhile, Democrats who chose extremely important shifted from 42% in 2011 to 31% in 2014.[304] In July 2013, 87% of Americans said they would vote in support of a law that would “allow immigrants already in the country to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements including paying taxes, having a criminal background check and learning English.” However, in the same survey, 83% also said they would support the tightening of U.S. border security