The Washington Times - April 12, 2013, 01:11PM

Our national thoughts about illegal immigrants are a complex set of sentiments indeed. We value their work ethics and contributions to America within reason, but are wary of the potential cost of their health care or welfare in tax payer money. We have empathy for their situation, but prefer our visitors to speak English.

And very few Americans trust the border. Only 1 percent — yes, that’s a one — think the U.S. border with Mexico is “totally secure,” this according to a new NBC News/Wall Street journal poll released Thursday. Another 17 percent say the border is “mostly” secure. The rest of the respondents think the border is simply an open door, or they don’t know what to think.

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Not much confidence in lawmakers, either. Though Democrats have a slight lead in the competence factor, a full third of us say that neither political party can handle the complexities of immigration issues.

And a few more numbers from the same poll:

76 percent of Americans would approve illegal immigrants eventually becoming legal American citizens if they pay off fines or back taxes, pass a security background check, and “take other required steps.”

64 percent favor a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants to eventually become citizens; 35 percent oppose the idea.

54 percent of Americans say immigration “strengthens” the United States; 36 percent say immigration weakens the U.S.

51 percent say illegal immigrants can apply for citizenship after living in the U.S. for five years.

33 percent say neither political party is competent dealing with immigration issues.

26 percent say Democrats best handle immigration, 21 percent say both parties can handle it, 19 percent cite Republicans.

Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted April 5 to 8 and released Thursday.