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New Polling on Immigration: Americans Overwhelmingly Back Citizenship For Millions

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The American people want solutions, not GOP “border-first” excuses for inaction

Washington, DC – New NPR/Ipsos polling on immigration finds that Americans overwhelmingly support pathways to citizenship for millions of Dreamers, TPS holders, as well as farm workers and other undocumented essential workers. 

But will these same Americans support citizenship legislation when there are challenges at the border? Yes. 

Despite Republican “border security first” objections, voters recognize that “the current situation at the border is a problem” and they want action on citizenship legislation. In short, the American people reject the GOP’s core excuse for inaction. They want Congress to formally recognize settled undocumented immigrants as the Americans they already are. 

See key poll details below:

“Would you support creating a legal way for the following groups of immigrants, who meet certain qualifications, to become U.S. citizens?”

  • 71% of Americans support citizenship for “farmworkers and other essential workers”: This includes 85% Democrats; 71% Independents; and 61% Republicans.
  • 70% of Americans support citizenship for “immigrants with temporary legal status who fled countries suffering from war or natural disasters”: This includes 83% of Democrats, 68% of Independents, and 60% of Republicans.
  • 66% of Americans support citizenship for “undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children”: This includes 83% of Democrats, 63% of Independents, and 54% of Republicans.

Meanwhile 79% of the public believes that “the current situation at the border is a problem.” But these views are more complex than the Trumpy “keep em all out” position. A big part of the public’s concern is about treating migrants fairly: 73% are concerned about “ensuring proper care for unaccompanied migrant children detained at the border;” 60% are concerned about “reuniting migrant families who were separated at the border by the Trump administration.” 

So, these dynamics should increase chances for a bipartisan breakthrough, right? We doubt it. 

Consider recent comments from the Republican senators leading bipartisan immigration reform discussions. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was recently asked about prospects of delivering legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship. His answer: “I don’t think they’re going to have a snowball’s chance in hell of doing that given the massive influx at the border. There’ll be no immigration reform until you get control of the border.” Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) recently told the New York Times, “Before we can do anything meaningful on immigration, we’re going to have to deal with the current crisis at the border.” With partners like these…

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice,

The American people want action on immigration, including citizenship for millions of deeply-rooted undocumented immigrants. They are not interested in Republican excuses or political gamesmanship. They are interested in action and they want results.   

The public recognizes that our immigration system is deeply dysfunctional and they want their elected representatives to do something about it. They understand the challenges at the border, and want humane and orderly solutions to them. Simultaneously, they strongly favor legislation that puts millions of Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers and other essential workers on pathways to citizenship.

The multiracial majority of Americans elected Democrats to go big, go fast and go now. They want long overdue challenges resolved. They want their government to take action to advance the American experiment. They elected Democrats not to engage in endless discussions with bad faith Republicans, but to deliver solutions that change lives and improve our nation. Democrats need to use every ounce of their power to produce a breakthrough – this year.