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Nearly two-thirds of Americans would favor the construction of a fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border, while three out of four say a politician’s stance on immigration will influence the way they vote in coming elections.

According to a new survey by Rasmussen Reports, 60 percent of those surveyed like the idea of a barrier along the U.S. Southwest border as a means of dramatically reducing illegal immigration from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America.

The poll also found that 75 percent of Americans say the issue of immigration is “somewhat important” or “very important” in terms of how they plan to vote for president and members of Congress. That compares with just 21 percent who said a candidate’s stance on immigration was “not very important” or “not at all important” to them.

In addition, a plurality of those surveyed – 49 percent – said they favored legislation that would end a concept known as “birthright citizenship,” which is the automatic granting of U.S. citizenship to anyone born in the United States. Forty-one percent were opposed to such legislation.

Birthright citizenship comes from U.S. courts’ repeated reliance on the opening sentence of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

Critics say the law is being abused by illegal aliens who break into the United States just to have children, who then automatically become U.S. citizens entitled to generous government-provided benefits.

They also say the amendment was never supposed to be interpreted as granting automatic citizenship to the offspring of illegal aliens. They say the authors of the Civil War-era amendment included the citizenship provision so newly freed black slaves would be legally considered citizens of the United States, whereas they were not before slavery was abolished.

They point to the words of Sen. Jacob Howard, co-author of the citizenship clause of the amendment, who declared in 1866: “Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”

Currently, some congressional Republicans are considering legislation that would end birthright citizenship and accompanying provisions calling for the construction of a border fence.

WND reported in October that, according to companies that build fences along U.S. highways to muffle traffic noise for nearby residents, a barrier along the entire 2,000-plus miles of U.S.-Mexican border would cost about $1.4 billion, or about half of what the Pentagon spends in Iraq a month.

A separate congressional estimate by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., for a two-tiered fence along the entire border was estimated at about $8 billion.

The Rasmussen telephone survey of 1,500 adults was conducted Nov. 4-6. The margin of sampling error for the survey is plus or minus 4 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. In all, 37 percent of survey respondents were Republican, 37 percent Democrat and 26 percent unaffiliated.

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