Well, I have a theory, and it is that Americans are basically pro-immigrant but ambivalent about it. This ambivalence is reflected in polls, which of course provide different results based on how questions are asked. For example, last year a CBS News poll asked, "Should illegal immigrants be prosecuted and deported or shouldn't they?" And 69% of respondents favored deportation. When the same interviewers asked the same respondents what should happen to illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in the U.S. for at least two years, and then offered a specific alternative to deportation, only 33% favored deportation; 62% said they should be given a chance to keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status.Nobody likes deportation.
When a separate Gallup poll asked a similar question but offered four alternatives, just 13% favored deportation, and 78% said illegal immigrants should be allowed to keep their jobs and apply for citizenship. - Wall Street Journal