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When it comes to the highly inflamed issue of immigration, Americans hold complex and seemingly contradictory views.

On one hand, a clear majority of Americans in numerous polls — including Texans — support Arizona's tough new law, which would require police officers to ask suspected illegal immigrants for identification.

A Gallup Poll released earlier this month shows just 33 percent of the public approve of the Obama administration's lawsuit attempt to have the law nullified, while 50 percent disagree with it.

But it's more complicated than that.

A whopping 82 percent of people who support the Arizona law also support comprehensive national immigration reform that includes a path for current illegal immigrants to become citizens, according to a bipartisan poll conducted in June by Lake Research Partners, a Democratic firm, and Public Opinion Strategies, a group of Republican pollsters.

"It seems inconsistent," concedes David Mermin, a partner at Lake Research Partners. "But what's consistent is a desire for action."

The common thread running through public opinion on immigration is anger: anger at the federal government for failing to enforce immigration laws, anger at businesses for hiring illegal immigrants, anger at landlords for renting to them and anger at Congress for inaction.

And while most Americans favor a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who pay a fine and otherwise obey the law, 59 percent of voters say the government should secure the United States' southern border before addressing reform legislation, a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll in late June found.

Scott Rasmussen, whose polling firm has conducted numerous polls on immigration-related issues, said those numbers reflect people's displeasure with Washington.

"Of people who are angry about immigration, over 80 percent are angry at the federal government," said Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports.

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