This article is written by the same reporter that interviewed me.

Local / Metro Posted on Sun, Feb. 24, 2008reprint or license print email
Winthrop/ETV poll | Illegal Immigrants | Let them stay? S.C. divided
Most say issue important, but are split on whether to deport, grant citizenship
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Almost seven in 10 South Carolinians say illegal immigration is an extremely or very important issue.

But there is no clear agreement about what should be done.

• More than four in 10 South Carolinians think illegal immigrants should be immediately deported.

• But more than a quarter of state residents think the immigrants should be fined and allowed to stay as temporary workers.

• And almost another quarter think illegal immigrants should be fined and allowed to stay in the country while they apply for citizenship.

Those are some of the key findings of a new Winthrop University/ETV poll. The poll’s questions about illegal immigration were asked specifically for The State newspaper.

The split among those willing to let illegal immigrants stay in the country — whether temporarily or permanently — weakens their voices in the roaring immigration debate.

“The people who say, ‘Let them stay,’ ... split,