A new poll released Wednesday revealed that most Virginians would want their state to adopt an Arizona-style immigration law, granting authorities power to question the legal status of persons pulled over or arrested, if suspected to be in the country illegally.
Six-four percent of those polled said they were in support of the Arizona law, while 31 percent said they disapproved of it. Sixty-two percent also said they would want a similar law passed in Virginia, while 34 percent said they would not be for it.
This is not the first time the predominantly Republican state has pushed for a crackdown on immigration. Ever since Arizona passed its controversial Senate Bill 1070 in 2010, Virginia has too, been trying to get similar laws adopted. In 2010, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ruled that authorities be allowed to question a person’s immigration status during routine stops but on discretionary grounds. In 2011, a package of bills was also proposed by the Virginia House of Delegates requiring colleges and universities adopt written policies barring undocumented immigrants from enrolling, for large state contractors to use E-Verify electronic background checks, and for schools to begin tallying the number of immigrant children enrolled at their institution, according to The Washington Post that year.
Most of these policies were targeted at Prince William County, known as the “ground zero” for the immigration controversy in Virginia.
While Virginia’s population stands over eight million according to the U. S. Census Bureau, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates there are more than 210,000 undocumented immigrants as of 2010 and growing.
“The state of Virginia’s economy has done better than the nation as a whole recently and it’s possible that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the state has increased,” said Mark Lopez from the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC. “It’s possible that it has grown; however, we don’t know by how much just yet.”
The survey further pressed voters on how this issue could potentially sway them come election time this November.
Forty percent of those polled said they opposed the Obama administration’s new policy allowing young undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children to be granted work permits; while 53 percent said they were in support of it.
Fifty-six percent also said the new policy made no difference in making them more likely to vote for President Barack Obama; 28 percent said it made them less likely to vote him and only 14 percent said it made them more likely to give him their vote.
The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, based in Hamden, CT., surveyed 1,673 registered voters from July 10 through July 16 for this poll. The institute conducts public opinion surveys across the nation for research and public service.