The Washington Times - February 7, 2011, 12:41PM

Most voters continue to believe federal policies encourage illegal immigration, but voters are almost evenly divided on whether it’s better to let the federal government or individual states enforce immigration laws, a new polls says.

Results of a Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday show that 57 percent of likely voters said the policies and practices of the federal government encourage illegal immigration.


The finding was down from the 62 percent who responded the same way in September after an Arizona law that imposed strict immigration rules made national headlines.

Twenty-one percent of respondents in the current poll disagreed the federal government was encouraging illegal immigration, while 22 percent said they weren’t sure.

The Rasmuseen poll also found that 47 percent of voters said relying on the federal government to enforce immigration laws was a better approach than allowing individual states to act on their own to enforce them.

Forty-four percent took the opposite position and said the better approach was to allow states to enforce immigration laws — down 11 percentage points from September.

Consistent with Rasmussen findings for the past several years, however, is the 68 percent who said gaining control of the border was more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already in the United States.

One quarter — 25 percent — said legalizing illegal immigrants already here should come first.

The national survey of 1,000 likely voters nationwide was taken Wednesday and Thursday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.