12 Jul 2013 11:19
WASHINGTON, July 12 (Bernama) -- Americans are more accepting of immigration than in years past, with 40 percent saying current levels should be maintained and rising the possibility that Congress will pass immigration reform, Gallup found in a poll released Thursday. About 35 percent say immigration should be decreased and 23 percent - the highest rate Gallup has on record - said immigration should increase, Xinhua news agency reported. The figures stand in sharp contrast to a decade before especially after the Sept 11, 2001 terror attacks, when nearly half of Americans favoured a decrease in immigration and between 12 percent to 18 percent wanting an increase. The findings come as Congress meets this week to hammer out how they should handle immigration reform and just weeks after the Senate passed a bill to overhaul the nation's broken immigration system. House Republicans met Wednesday to discuss the issue for the first time in seven years, U.S. media reported. Non-whites have consistently been more likely than whites to favour increased immigration. After the Sept 11 attacks, support for increasing immigration declined sharply among non-whites but recovered in 2006. At that time, support among whites increased slightly. Support among both groups retreated in 2009 possibly in response to the worsening economy, Gallup found. Since then, Gallup's annual trends document a clear, steady increase in support for immigration, with support among whites increasing in the past two years to nearly match that of non-whites. "The current public opinion environment relative to immigration, broadly, may be more conducive to passing comprehensive legislation to address illegal immigration than it was the last time Congress made a serious effort to pass it in 2007," Gallup said. --BERNAMA EE