Nearly two-thirds of Americans favor giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, and 54% of the public agrees with the statement that immigration strengthens the nation, a new poll found.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reveals that 64% of Americans believe undocumented immigrants should have a path to citizenship, with 51% saying that immigrants should be eligible for citizenship five years after application. Also, 8-in-10 Latinos support the path.
The overall results reflect a shift in attitude on the issue. Almost three-quarters of Republicans support the path because it includes paying fines and back taxes.
In a 2010 survey, fewer than half of Americans agreed that immigration adds to the nation’s character and strengthens it by bringing diversity and talent to the country.
This week, a group of eight senators agreed on a broad immigration bill that would require tough border measures to be set before illegal immigrants could take the first steps in becoming citizens. The draft of the legislation includes continuous surveillance of the country’s border and for workplace and visa enforcement measures. While the senators drafted the legislation on Wednesday, thousands of advocates descended on the nation’s capital to press for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship.
The poll also found the majority of the public favors stricter gun laws, which includes 82% of Democrats and 27% of Republicans in support of tougher legislation. The Senate is prepared to vote on Thursday whether to begin discussions on a bipartisan deal to expand background checks on gun buyers.
In addition, the poll results showed that fewer than two-in-10 Americans said the sequester, which slashed spending, has significantly affected them.
Only 31% of the public believe the country is headed in the right direction, which is a decrease from 10 points since last December.