Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Republicans have spent months plotting ways to take down President Obama's new deportation relief program, but only a small minority of Americans think that's the best way to approach the issue.

A poll released on Thursday found that 73 percent of Americans believe passing an immigration reform bill should be the highest priority for Republicans in Congress in terms of dealing with immigration. Only 17 percent thought rolling back Obama's immigration plan should be the top goal.

The poll, by the non-profit, non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute, surveyed a random sample of 1,015 adults, asking questions related to immigration policy.

Republicans want to defund the president's deportation relief program, which could allow an estimated 5 million people to live and work in the country. Republicans in the House of Representatives inserted language meant to sink the program into a spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security, but repeated efforts to pass that bill in the Senate have failed.

The party appears unsure how to move forward. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell passed the buck to House Republicans after it became clear the legislation would not be approved in the Senate. House Speaker John Boehner, in turn, said on Wednesday that that Democrats need to fix the gridlock, employing an expletive to emphasize his frustration (see the Vine).

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Homeland Security funding is set to run out on Feb 27. If Congress can't reach a deal before then, many of those federal employees could see indefinite paycheck delays and some workers could be furloughed.

Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.