Huge bipartisan support for legality to illegals.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: A new survey released by the Pew Research Center indicates that the vast majority of Americans look favorably upon finding a way for undocumented immigrants currently within the country to have a legal way of staying, but are far less supportive of giving them a path to citizenship.
According to the poll, 73% of Americans would like to allow illegal aliens already in the US to stay via some legal means, but only 46% would want them to have a way of applying for citizenship, while only 24% would want them to be allowed to apply for permanent residency.
A separate 24% said that undocumented immigrants should not be allowed to stay in the US, and should be made to leave. Politically, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans want to find a path to legality for illegal immigrants, with 81% and 64% voicing approval for such a measure, respectively.
However, when asked about the practice of deportation – something that President Barack Obama’s administration has done in record numbers in the last five years, with some 400,000 being deported annually – the results were split right down the middle. Forty five percent of those surveyed said that they thought deporting undocumented immigrants was a good thing, while an equal number said it was a bad thing.
Democrats, in general, were shown to oppose aggressive deportation far more than their Republican counterparts. About 37% of Democrats said deportation was a good thing, while 53% said it was bad; on the Republican side, the results came to 55% that it was a good thing and 40% that it was bad. Independents were split a little more evenly, with 46% favoring deportation and 43% saying they don’t support it.
But perhaps most importantly, the issue of immigration as a whole has taken a slight dive over the past eight months. In June of last year, 50% of those polled said that passage of immigration reform was an “extremely/very important” item on the political agenda, but that number has now fallen to 49%. Breaking it down further, 46% of Republicans say it’s still extremely/very important, 60% of Democrats feel the same way, and 44% of Independents do as well.
The full results of the Pew Research Center study can be found here.
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