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New Immigration Polling: 76% of Americans Support the Legalization of Undocumented Immigrants

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New Immigration Polling from PRRI Shows Public Remains Resolutely Pro-Immigrant, Despite GOP’s Race-baiting Attacks 

Washington, DC – New polling from PRRI shows that a strong majority of the American public remains supportive of legal status and citizenship for undocumented immigrants. It’s a point of durable consensus among Americans and one that remains divisive only among Republican base audiences.

Among the key takeaways in the new PRRI polling of more than 2,500 Americans:

  • 76% of Americans support the legalization of undocumented immigrants, including 62 percent who support citizenship. When asked, “Which statement comes closest to your view about how the immigration system should deal with immigrants who are currently living in the U.S. illegally?” A combined 76 percent support some sort of permanent solution – either citizenship or permanent legal status – for undocumented immigrants, with a strong majority of 62% supporting citizenship, 14% supporting permanent legal status short of citizenship, and 22% supporting deportation.
  • Americans’ strong majority support for citizenship is durable over time. PRRI has asked this question annually since 2013 and Americans’ support has ranged between 62 percent and 67 percent in support of citizenship each year.
  • A path to citizenship divisive only among Republican respondents: 76% of Democrats, 64 percent of Independents, and 62 percent of all Americans support citizenship. Among Republicans, 43 percent support citizenship, 13 percent permanent residency short of citizenship, and 44 percent support deportation of undocumented immigrants.
  • Beyond legal status and citizenship, strong majorities of Americans remain pro-immigrant on other key PRRI questions as well:

o    By a 61-35 percent margin, Americans say that “immigrants today strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents,” rather than burdening our country “because they take jobs, housing, and health care.”

o    By a 56-40 percent margin, Americans say newcomers “strengthen American society” instead of threatening “traditional American customs and values.”

For more on Americans’ consistent support for legal status for undocumented immigrants over time, visit this roundup from America’s Voice here

According to Vanessa Cardenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice,

Americans remain strongly and consistently supportive of citizenship and permanent legal status for undocumented immigrants and recognize that immigration and immigrants strengthens our country.

All this despite Republicans’ ugly, race-based, and increasingly unhinged anti-immigrant attacks. In the face of these findings and right wing opposition, Democrats should lean in to deliver on the legislative solutions that they have promised and that the public still strongly supports. When it comes to immigration as a political issue, Democrats have an opportunity and should lean in with confidence knowing that the public is with them and the issue divides the GOP.