People hold up their right hands during a naturalization ceremony at Federal Hall for approximately 75 citizenship candidates from 31 countries on May 22, 2014 in New York City.
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Majority of U.S.—GOP voters, too—support pathway to citizenship


Support for giving illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship is growing. 

Sixty-two percent of Americans—including majorities from all three parties—are in favor giving the country’s 11.4 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship; 17% support giving them green cards.

By the parties, 70% of Democrats, 61% of Independents, and 51% of Republicans support a pathway to citizenship with requirements like background checks and back taxes, according to the data from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute and the center-left Brookings Institution. The poll surveyed 1538 adults by telephone between April 7 and April 27th, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.3 points. 

In the tea party movement, there’s some support for reform—37% support a pathway to citizenship and 23% support green cards—but there’s also strong opposition: 37% believe all undocumented immigrants should just be deported.

But within the GOP, just 21% of voters said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship; 46% said they’d be less likely to support the candidate.

Morning Joe , 6/10/14, 9:19 AM ET

Congressman pushes for immigration reform

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., joins Morning Joe to discuss why he’s pushing his fellow Republicans to move forward on immigration in the wake of thousands of children who have been arrested trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

Immigration reform as outlined by a bipartisan Senate group–dubbed the Gang of Eight– now waits on a divided House of Representatives, which is divided on how to handle the hot-button issue. The Gang’s bill would bolster border security, enact a citizenship verification system for employers, and give illegal immigrants a 13-year path to citizenship.

Just 19% of Americans think the immigrants should be deported, but it’s a vocal minority: anti-immigration groups like Numbers USA have levied that opposition with enormous success, mobilizing an army of members to oppose any measure—and politician—that doesn’t drastically reduce the number of immigrants in the country.

For now, House Majority Leader John Boehner has said the House won’t take up the bill until the president enforces the country’s current immigration laws fully, instead of using executive authority to effectively alter the laws, which the president has done for young immigrants.

House Republicans, Immigration Policy and Immigration Reform

Majority of U.S.—GOP voters, too—support pathway to citizenship