WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A majority of Americans say that unaccompanied minors apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border should be allowed to remain in the country for at least some length of time.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 51 percent of Americans believe the unaccompanied children who are being detained at the border should remain in the U.S. at least temporarily, with 38 percent of those people saying the children should be sheltered and cared for until they can safely be returned home.

The poll was conducted from July 31-Aug. 5 among 1,566 Americans regarding the nearly 63,000 unaccompanied children who have flooded over the U.S. border since October from countries including Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Thirteen percent of those surveyed said the children should be allowed to stay in the U.S. regardless of the amount of time, while just shy of one-third (32 percent) said children should be deported immediately.

However, the Obama administration and congressional Republicans have insisted that the children should be given due process for removal, with GOP lawmakers pushing to change a 2008 law that would let U.S. officials deport the children through a faster process.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 48 percent of Democrats polled said they believe the children should be cared for until they can safely be returned to their home countries. However, only 30 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of self-identifying independents agreed with this sentiment.

One question asked whether people would allow the unaccompanied minors to be temporarily relocated to their own communities, and 41 percent said they would support such a step, while 48 percent said they are opposed.

“A lot of Americans are compassionate, but they want other people to bear the burden of that compassion,” John Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College, told Reuters.

The number of children estimated to cross the Rio Grande Valley of Texas has decreased from more than 300 children per day in June to shy of 150 per day in July, according to federal officials.


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