The answers to that question should give pause to all reformers. Just 9 percent said it was very likely that the government would secure the border, while another 29 percent said it was somewhat likely. That’s a total of 38 percent who believe the government will actually secure the border.

On the other hand, 36 percent said it was not very likely that the government would secure the border, while another 17 percent said it was not at all likely — for a total of 53 percent who don’t believe the government will secure the border. (Ten percent said they weren’t sure.)

Republicans were the most skeptical, with disbelievers outnumbering believers 63 percent to 28 percent. Independents were just as skeptical, at 65 percent to 26 percent. Only Democrats expressed faith that the border might be secured, by a 54 percent to 34 percent margin.

The bottom line: Most Americans would support an immigration reform plan, but only if border security comes first. And by “first” they mean before the legalization of currently illegal immigrants and before the creation of a path to citizenship. Would they be more flexible if they truly believed the federal government’s promise to secure the border? Perhaps — but they don’t believe.