Bay Area Sounds Off on Anti-Illegal Immigration Debate

By Frank Heinz
|  Thursday, Jun 30, 2011  |  Updated 11:45 AM PDT
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WASHINGTON - MARCH 27: A protester holds an American flag and a Mexican flag while participating in a protest on the west front of the U.S. Capitol March 27, 2006 in Washington, DC. Thousands of immigration advocates rallied on Capitol Hill to protest the immigration bill that is before Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Arizona's controversial law aimed at finding illegal immigrants has stirred debate nationwide, but perhaps even more so in border states like California struggling to stem the tide of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States.

A new national NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll on immigration released Wednesday indicates that whites and Latinos are deeply divided over the issue immigration, their allegiances to the nation’s political parties and their opinions about the president.

In the poll, 61 percent say they favor Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law, which would require local and state law enforcement officers to question people about their immigration status if they have reason to suspect a person is in the country illegally. The law would also make it a crime to lack the proper registration documents.

But there’s a divide among white and Latino respondents: 70 percent of whites support the law, versus just 31 percent of Latinos. In fact, 58 percent of Latinos say they strongly oppose it.

That’s not the only chasm between White and Latino America. While 68 percent of Latinos believe that immigration strengthens the United States, just 43 percent of whites think that.

Early Wednesday, through Facebook and Twitter, NBC Bay Area asked our readers to sound off on the immigration debate and to send us their thoughts. Here are a few of the submissions:

"Key criteria for citizenship of the Naturalization Act of 1795 remains part of American law. These include:
1) 5 years of (lawful) residence within the United States
2) good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States
3) taking of a formal oath to support the Constitution and... to renounce any foreign allegiance
4) the renunciation of any hereditary titles"

Wouldn't it be nice to stop all the posturing and have a real discussion? I don't see long lines to take the jobs in our nation's produce fields. I don't hear the outcry about illegals that overstay their visas. This not a simple issue and won't be solved with fences, guns, or BS.

The Immigration law needs to be updated at the Federal level. However, according to Megyn Kelley, a Fox Anchor and Lawyer, the current Federal Law is more prmissive than the AZ State law when it comes to stopping a person who the police has violated immigration laws. We need to enforce the laws that are currently on the books. I am for legal immigration but our law need to be stream lined. ICE also needs to enforce both Federal and State laws.

Whatever the opinion, one constant seemed to resonate strongly among most posters -- that they favor immigration, from any country, if it's done legally.

To take part in the conversation, visit the NBC Bay Area  Facebook page or join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #bayareadivided @nbcbayarea.

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