Most Say Volunteer Patrols Reduce Illegal Immigration

Survey of 1,000 Adults

September 20-21, 2005

"Minutemen" who patrolled Mexican border

Favorable 54%
Unfavorable 22%

Should the federal government encourage volunteers to help patrol the entire Mexican border?

Yes 48%
No 33%

Would Citizen Patrols Reduce Illegal Immigration?

Yes 52%
No 25%

How long should a legal immigrant be required to live in the United States before they can apply for citizenship?

One Year 22%
Five Years 36%
Seven Years 15%
Ten Years 9%
More Than Ten Years 11%

In terms of impacting your vote, how important is immigration issue?

Very Important 38%
Somewhat Important 31%
Not Very Important 20%
Not at All Important 7%


September 22, 2005--Fifty-four percent (54%) of Americans have a favorable opinion of the volunteers who patrolled portions of the Mexican border earlier this year. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 22% have an unfavorable view of the "Minutemen" volunteers.

Forty-eight percent (48%) believe the federal government should encourage volunteers to patrol the entire Mexican border. Thirty-three percent (33%) disagree.

Fifty-two percent (52%) say that if citizen patrols were encouraged across the entire Mexican border, illegal immigration would be reduced. Twenty-five percent (25%) disagree.

A related survey found that most Americans consider current immigration laws a threat to both national security and the economy.

The survey also found that 36% believe that a legal immigrant should be required to live in the U.S. for five years before they are eligible for citizenship. Twenty-two percent (22%) would prefer just a one-year requirement while 35% say the wait should be longer than five years. This includes 11% who believe more than a decade of residency should be required.

When it comes to determining how they will vote in the next Presidential election, 38% say that the immigration issue will be "very important." Another 31% say it will be somewhat important. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say not very important or not at all important.

Seventy-three percent (73%) of Republicans rank the issue as somewhat or very important along with 64% of Democrats.

Republicans, by a 59% to 29% margin, say that the federal government should encourage citizen patrols along the entire border. Democrats are evenly divided on this point--39% in favor and 38% opposed. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 44% say the federal government should encourage such patrols and 39% disagree.

The Minutemen volunteers are viewed favorably by 65% of Republicans, 57% of Democrats, and 42% of unaffiliateds.

There is not much of a gender gap or marital status gap on these questions, but middle income Americans tend to be more supportive of the Minutemen and citizen patrols than people at either end of the income spectrum.

Sixty percent (60%) of white Americans have a favorable opinion of the Minutemen along with 35% of other Americans.

Seventy-two percent (72%) of white Americans say immigration is an important voting issue for them. Sixty percent (60%) of other Americans agree.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

Rasmussen Reports was the nation's most accurate polling firm during the Presidential election and the only one to project both Bush and Kerry's vote total within half a percentage point of the actual outcome.

During Election 2004, was also the top-ranked public opinion research site on the web. We had twice as many visitors as our nearest competitor and nearly as many as all competitors combined.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.

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This survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted by Rasmussen Reports September 20-21, 2005. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

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