/ Modified feb 17, 2014 4:25 p.m.

Immigration Poll: Equal Number Prioritize Reform, Border Security

First time in years the numbers received equal support; figures come after House Republicans say issue unlikely to progress this year.

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New polling shows that, nationally, people place about equal priority on securing the international border with Mexico as they place on making a plan to reform the immigration system for people already in the United States undocumented.

A national Gallup poll conducted in early February showed the number shifted. In the past eight years, more people have placed higher importance on border security than "dealing with" undocumented immigrants in the country.

The numbers come after U.S. House Republicans have said the issue is unlikely to make progress this year.

Even so, a number of Republicans have pushed for reform. It would solve a piecemeal system being created at the state level, said National Republican Committeeman Bruce Ash of Tucson.

“We have de-facto sanctuary cities, we have all these immigration issues that have come as a result of laws that aren’t followed, and states that go in one direction or another," he said. "Even in Arizona they’re talking about more laws. We need to get this straightened out as a national policy, otherwise states wouldn’t be taking the kind of action they are taking."

Republicans have been accused of backing immigration and border security reform to gain votes, but Ash said federal law changes are necessary for economic and social reasons.

“We need to do something right for the country, it’s not about elections it’s about fixing the economy, it's about making this a great country again and you do that by having an immigration policy that works,” Ash said.

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