New PRRI Polling Finds 80% of Americans Back a Permanent Solution for Undocumented Immigrants, Including 64% Support for Citizenship
The Biden administration went right to work on Day One to begin reversing the cruelty and chaos of Trump’s war on immigrants. The new administration’s approach offers a dramatic and welcome departure from the cruelty and xenophobia of the Trump era, with a sweeping legislative proposal to create a new roadmap to citizenship and multiple executive orders. It also reflects the strong public support for these measures, as captured in new PRRI immigration polling of more than 2,500 Americans.
- 80 percent of Americans support legal status for undocumented immigrants. “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 80 percent support some sort of permanent solution – either citizenship or permanent status – for undocumented immigrants.
- 64 percent support citizenship for the undocumented: When presented the option: “Allow them a way to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements,” 64% support the option, broken down as follows: 74% of Democrats; 67% of Independents; and 48% of Republicans.
- 16 percent support permanent legal status short of citizenship: when presented the option: “Allow them to become permanent legal residents, but not citizens,” 16% support it.
- 19 percent support deportation: Described as “identify and deport them.” This is the group that Senators Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are fighting to capture.
Here are the key PRRI results on other questions, many of which show significant public support for the executive orders issued yesterday: the reinstatement of DACA; the termination of the Muslim Ban; the beginning of the end for MPP (known as the Remain in Mexico program); the termination of border wall construction; and soon, a new task force to reunite children with parents separated by the family separation polices of the Trump administration:
- Favor allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal resident status (66%)
- Oppose a policy that would separate children from their families at the border, which was in place briefly during Trump’s term in office (76%)
- Oppose building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border (57%)
- Oppose travel bans that temporarily prevent people from some Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. (53%)
- Oppose a law preventing refugees from entering the U.S. (62%)
As Robert P. Jones, founder and CEO of PRRI, said:
The new immigration priorities and policies favored by the Biden administration will bring U.S. policy more in line with long-standing American public opinion, which has consistently reflected a more compassionate and pragmatic approach to these complex issues. Majorities of Americans, including majorities of all religious groups and even a plurality of Republicans, support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice,
Yesterday, the Biden-Harris administration started to do what they promised: undo the cruelty and chaos of Trump’s immigration policies, build a new system that is fair, humane and functional, and fight for legislation to create a new roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants settled in America.
When it comes to public opinion, the wind is at Biden’s back. The American people support his agenda by overwhelming margins. The President recognizes what too many have not: on immigration, the tectonic plates have shifted, creating more space for pro-immigrant policies than ever.
Trump’s cruelty forced a choice, and a solid majority of Americans came down on the side of immigrants. The vast majority reject Trump’s vicious policies and hateful rhetoric, seeing immigrants as friends, neighbors and co-workers. Millions of undocumented immigrants were deemed by the Trump administration as ‘essential’ and ‘deportable’ simultaneously. The American people believe the least we can do now is recognize their heroic frontline work with a path to citizenship.
See a deep dive on recent American immigration polling and public opinion here.