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Americans split over public education for illegal immigrants, poll shows

Few favor government benefits for illegal immigrants, a Monitor/TIPP poll shows. Less than half back admitting them to public schools.

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Maybe it's the recession. Maybe it's the fight over Arizona's tough new law to step up apprehension of illegal immigrants or the headline news about border violence. For whatever reason, Americans are in no mood to coddle people who are in the United States illegally, even if they are hardworking and peaceable.

Most American adults today oppose any sort of government benefit for illegal immigrants, according to a recent Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll.

Even K-12 education for children brought to the US under the radar by their parents – a benefit that the US Supreme Court has said states cannot withhold – does not enjoy majority backing. Support for educating such children stands at 47 percent, compared with 49 percent who oppose it. The results may hearten two gubernatorial hopefuls who have urged challenging the relevant 1982 high court ruling: Republican Terry Branstad in Iowa and third-party candidate Tom Tancredo in Colorado. Other GOP candidates for governor have said they would push for tough laws like Arizona's, but Mr. Branstad and Mr. Tancredo alone appear ready to test the Supreme Court education ruling that discrimination based on immigration status serves "no compelling state interest."

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