Study finds Rhode Islanders divided on immigration laws

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A new survey out of Brown University finds Rhode Islanders divided on their support of immigration policy while united on education for the children of immigrants.

The survey asked about the Arizona law requiring police to arrest anyone without proper documentation and found half of residents surveyed said they support the law, though 72 percent acknowledged that the law would discourage immigrants from reporting crimes.

What surprised Taubman Center Director Marion Orr was that a majority of those who support the law want to spend state money for enforcement.

"You would think that people would be concerned about spending state funds on things to get the economy running, for example," says Orr. Results of the study, says Orr, reflects the divide across America on immigration issues.

On education, 83 percent of those surveyed support programs for teaching English to immigrant children, and nearly 70 percent say should receive in-state tuition should be available for undocumented students who graduate from Rhode Island high schools.

The survey was conducted with a random sample of 508 residents statewide, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

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