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Pew finds broad support for immigrants

Feb 27, 2014

"A new poll released Thursday finds that a broad, bipartisan majority of Americans favor allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States, although less than half would support a path to citizenship for them.

Seventy-three percent of Americans back a path to legal status as long as the immigrants meet a series of requirements, according to the poll released by the Pew Research Center. That includes 81 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of independents and 64 percent of Republicans, the poll found.

Just 24 percent of Americans would not support such a plan, according to Pew. “While there are partisan differences over how to deal with those in the U.S. illegally, majorities across partisan and ideological groups say there should be a way for unauthorized immigrants to stay in the U.S. if they meet certain requirements,” the report says.

Still, the report finds there is “far less support” for current undocumented immigrants to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. According to the Pew survey, 46 percent of Americans would favor citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Breaking down along party affiliation, 56 percent of Democrats would support a pathway to citizenship, compared with 47 percent of independents and 32 percent of Republicans. The Pew poll did not elaborate on what such requirements to achieve legal status would be. Legislation that passed the Senate in June calls for millions of undocumented immigrants to meet certain standards such as paying back taxes and fees, undergoing background checks, and demonstrating knowledge of English.

Immigration reform on Capitol Hill is on hold. House Republican leaders released a one page document of so-called principles last month at a party retreat in Cambridge, Md. But Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) later declared that doing immigration reform would be “difficult” due to his conference’s distrust of President Barack Obama – a statement that many saw as House Republicans shelving work on immigration for the year.

The House GOP principles endorsed legal status for qualifying undocumented immigrants in the United States and rejected a so-called “special” pathway to citizenship for them – but was silent on whether those undocumented immigrants would be able to apply for citizenship using existing channels, such as sponsorship by an employer or marriage to a U.S. citizen.

The poll underscores the importance of immigration reform to the Latino community. Seventy-two percent of Hispanics said overhauling the nation’s immigration laws was “extremely” or “very important,” and 89 percent said they favor a pathway to legal status for current undocumented immigrants.

Meanwhile, the public, according to the Pew poll, was split on whether they supported the rising number of deportations under Obama. The president has come under fire from the Latino community and progressives for the increasing number of immigrants who have been deported during his administration – which have come at a faster pace than under his predecessor, President George W. Bush.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed thought the higher number of deportations under Obama was a “good thing,” while another 45 percent viewed it as bad. Among party lines, 55 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats supported the deportations." - To read more articles from the Politico, click here

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