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Italians more likely to expel illegal immigrants

A majority of respondents in three European countries believe all illegal immigrants should be deported, according to a poll by Harris Interactive published in the Financial Times.

Sixty percent of respondents in Italy, 59% in Britain and 54% in Germany are in favor of expulsion. The United States is next on the list with 46%, followed by Spain with 43%, and France with 34%. In France, 19% of respondents would allow illegal immigrants with children attending school to stay, while expelling all others. Support for granting an amnesty to all illegal immigrants and regularize them reaches 15% in both Spain and the United States.

Earlier this month, the US Senate discussed a revised immigration bill, which would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a 'Z visa'. After paying fees, a $5,000 fine and then returning to their home countries, they could apply for permanent residency, which could be granted in eight to 13 years. The bill also includes a proposal to introduce a points system that would prioritize access to the US for skilled and educated immigrants, as well as new family-reunification guidelines. In December 2004, the Spanish government approved the regularization law. More than 690,000 foreign residents have filed their paperwork to remain in Spain legally.

In early May, the European Commission released a proposal to levy penalties against businesses in the EU that employ illegal immigrants. EU commissioner Franco Frattini said about seven to 16% of the EU's GDP is conducted 'off the books', adding, „The near certainty of finding illegal work in EU member states is the main driving force behind illegal immigration. The EU must act together.” (