Poll results released today by the Tucson-based Sky Island Alliance show more people prefer spending money on strengthening border ports of entry rather than building more border fencing.

Asked to choose between sending resources to beef up ports of entry or building more fences, 55 percent chose ports compared to 45 percent who chose fences, the environmental protection organization's press release shows.

The online poll queried 1,000 adults nationwide from May 10-12 of this year.

As I wrote about in this February story on the $184 million upgrade of the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, most U.S. border ports of entry are understaffed. 

The majority of the people surveyed — 63 percent – supported almost any border security measure when asked in general terms with little context or information.

But, when told that 650 miles of border barriers have already been built and that it would cost $6 million to $9 million per mile to add more barriers, support for border fencing dropped by 4 percentage points to 59 percent, the release says.

Support for border walls dropped to 48 percent when given information and photographs showing flooding and damage (examples here and here) that has occurred as a result of the Department of Homeland Security waiving environmental laws to construct the barriers.

Also, 64 percent of respondents oppose giving Homeland Security the authority to waive envirnomental laws to build border barriers, which the agency has done on five occasions since the waiver was created in the 2005 Real ID Act.

Former Secretary Michael Chertoff used the waiver in April 2008 to lay claim to nearly two-thirds of Arizona's international border. Before that, Chertoff invoked the waiver on the previous three occasions for individual projects:

• In October 2007 for construction of two miles of fencing in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Southeastern Arizona.

• In January 2007 on the border barriers on the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range in Southwestern Arizona.

• In 2005 in San Diego to build border fencing in a gulch.

Finally, the same percentage of people — 64 percent — said they oppose permanently waiving environmental laws for border security.

You can read detailed information about the poll results here.