Among Americans, Support for Earned Legalization Is High
A May 2009 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found thatsupportfor a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants has risen from 58% in 2007 to 63% in 2009.
61% of respondents to a March 2009 telephone survey conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News supported giving undocumented immigrants the right to live in the U.S. “if they pay a fine and meet other requirements.” In 2007, roughly 49% of people supported giving undocumented immigrants the right to live in the country; that number has grown by 12% over two years. 59% of Republicans support this position, up from 42% in 2007, while 68% of Democrats expressed their support, up from 59% in 2007.
According to a May 2009 poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group (BSG), support for comprehensive immigration reform has remained stable and strong since a previous poll taken in November 2008. Both polls show that about 68% of voters support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that would require them to register, meet certain conditions, and become legal taxpayers.
In the same poll, an overwhelming majority of voters—71 percent—believe that we would be better off if undocumented immigrants took steps to become legal taxpayers rather than being deported. Only 26% of voters believe that deportation would be better for Americans than legalization.
Majorities of Independents and Republicans Also Favor Comprehensive Immigration Reform
The May 2009 BSG poll showed bipartisan support for comprehensive reform. 62% of Republicans, 63% of Independents and 67% of Democrats support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The March 2009 Washington Post survey showed strong support for legalization of undocumented immigrants across all political affiliations. The number of Democrats supporting the program increased from 59% in 2007 to 68% in 2009, while the number of Republicans who expressed support jumped from 42% in 2007 to 59% in 2009. In the 2009 poll, 59% of Independents also said they would support the program.
Americans Believe That the Status Quo Is Unacceptable, and Congress Must Fix Our Broken Immigration System
75% of respondents to the May 2009 BSG poll believe Congress should tackle immigration reform in 2009. 57% of respondents said that the poor economy makes it more crucial that Congress address immigration reform, as opposed to the 39% who believed it was not the right time. In general, voters support a Member of Congress willing to tackle immigration more than one who will not.
According to polls of voters conducted by Lake Research Partners and BSG after the 2008 election, 46% believed enacting immigration reform was a high priority. Only 15% of voters considered it a low priority, while 37% said it was medium.
Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Mass Deportation and Enforcement-Only Policies
A CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted in October 2009 found that only 37 percent of respondents wanted to see all illegal immigrants deported.
A May 2009 BSG poll indicates that only 20% of voters believed that those undocumented should be required to leave; 10% believe that they should be allowed to stay temporarily.
According to the BSG/Lake Research Partners November 2008 post-election poll, voters preferred a comprehensive approach to immigration reform over enforcement of current legislation by a 27% margin.