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Path to Citizenship Gaining Strong Public Support and Mobilizing Key Communities

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New NBC News/WSJ Poll Documents Popularity and Strong Bipartisan Support for Citizenship As Tens of Thousands Energize U.S. Capitol Grounds on Behalf of Real Reform

New polling from NBC News/Wall Street Journal underscores the fact that an earned path to citizenship is the mainstream position in the immigration debate.  Additionally, yesterday’s jubilant rally on the Capitol lawn demonstrates that the energy and enthusiasm in the debate is also on the side of citizenship.

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

Citizenship for Americans-in-waiting is winning over all groups of voters and mobilizing Latinos, Asian American and immigrant communities.  Little wonder it’s now the heart of the reform legislation soon to be unveiled in Congress.

  • Poll finds broad popular support for path to earned citizenship: As Mark Murray of NBC News writes about the new poll, “With a bipartisan group of senators expected to unveil immigration-reform legislation in the next few days, a brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans – including eight in 10 Latinos – support giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship…64 percent of respondents say they favor allowing undocumented immigrants to have the opportunity to become legal American citizens.”
  • Republicans overwhelmingly support citizenship when the requirements are described: When first asked, Republican respondents opposed a path to citizenship by a narrow 47-51 percent margin.  However, as Murray writes, “when told that the pathway to citizenship would require paying fines and back taxes, as well as passing a security-background check, support grows – with 76 percent of total respondents, and 73 percent of Republicans backing the path.”  This finding echoes those of  Resurgent Republic, a Republican-allied public opinion research group, who last month released findings of four immigration focus groups conducted with Republican caucus and primary voters in Iowa and South Carolina.  The researchers found that “[a] pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is acceptable to Republican primary voters if it is an earned process and fair to those who are already legally in the system.”
  • Energy in immigration debate clearly on side of pro-reform, pro-citizenship movement:  In addition to the broad popularity behind reform, the enthusiasm in the immigration debate is clearly on the side of a path to full citizenship.  By polling measures, when presented with a full description of the process of earning citizenship, those “strongly” favoring citizenship as part of an immigration overhaul outnumbered those “strongly” opposed by a 39-14% margin (overall, 76% favor and 23% oppose).  One only has to look at the huge crowd gathering on the National Mall yesterday to see that the enthusiasm and energy resides on the pro-reform side.  As New York Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes noted, “The expected crowd was officially 30,000, though it seemed as if thousands more than that poured in all day.  By midafternoon they spilled beyond the reflecting pool and down the National Mall.  Up the steps behind them, Senate staff members were inside working through an immigration bill, line by line, as they had done the night before and days before that, under enormous pressure to get the bill done this week.  Outside, on the grass: the pressure.”  Said rally participant and DREAMer, Hareth Andrades, “My parents were the first Dreamers; they gave up their education in Bolivia so we would have a better life, and I would not be here if it weren’t for them…I need to fight for them.”

America’s Voice Education Fund — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform