Crossing Party Lines, Most Americans Favor Pathway to Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
(photo: Steven Senne, AP)

While Republicans in the U.S. House continue to hold up immigration reform, a strong majority of Americans—including a majority of GOP voters—say illegal immigrants should have a way to become citizens.


A survey conducted by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found 63% of respondents support a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, who number 11.7 million in the United States.


Only 14% back legal residency with no option for citizenship, something Republican lawmakers are pushing in Congress.


The citizenship route was favored by 60% of GOP respondents, 57% of independents and 73% of Democrats, according to the institute.


Also, majorities of Protestants, Catholics and Americans with no religious affiliation supported the same plan.


The U.S. Senate approved bipartisan legislation in June that creates a 13-year pathway to citizenship, which involves immigrants paying back taxes and passing English tests and criminal background checks.


But House Republicans refuse to consider that plan.


The survey revealed that nearly 70% of Americans believe the 13-year wait for citizenship is too long. It also determined that 18% of Americans take a hardline approach, favoring only deportation.


Sixty-five percent of those surveyed agreed that the U.S. immigration system, as it now stands, is broken.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

In Report, 63% Back Way to Get Citizenship (by Julia Preston, New York Times)

Survey: What Americans (Still) Want From Immigration Reform (Public Religion Research Institute)

Obama Scores Political Points with Suspension of Deportation of Immigrants Brought to U.S. as Children (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Senate Democrats Re-Introduce DREAM Act (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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