(Credit: CBS)CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.
Updated: June 8, 9:10 am ET
(CBS News) As the Supreme Court weighs a decision on Arizona's controversial immigration law this summer, a new CBS News/New York Times poll shows that more than half of Americans see the law as "about right."
The legislation, which was signed into law in April 2010, is considered among the most stringent immigration laws in the nation. It requires Arizona law enforcement members to check the citizenship status of anyone they believe appears to be an undocumented immigrant -- and has incited much controversy about whether or not it effectively legalizes racial profiling in a state with a heavy Latino population.
According to the
The U.S. Department of Justice is challenging the law on the grounds that it conflicts with what it contends is the federal government's exclusive right to set immigration laws for the country.
Most Americans seem to disagree. Sixty-two percent of respondents - and majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents - say both the federal government and state governments should be able to determine laws regarding undocumented immigrants. Twenty-five percent (30 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans) think such laws should be determined exclusively by the federal government, and 11 percent (4 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of Republicans) think they should be determined by state governments only.
As to what Americans think should happen to undocumented immigrants who are currently working in the U.S., 43 percent think they should be allowed to stay and
President Obama has criticized the Arizona legislation as a "misguided" law that "threatened to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe. " The tensions between his position on the issue and that of Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer were highlighted earlier this year when the two engaged in a seemingly heated exchange when Mr. Obama arrived in Phoenix for a visit.