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.
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.