Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Public Opinion, Values and Demographic Trends Align in Support of Immigration Reform

By Donald Kerwin, Huffington Post
March 22, 2013

A recently released report by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution offers the latest evidence of broad public receptivity to comprehensive immigration reform. The report, titled "Citizenship, Values and Cultural Concerns: What Americans Want from Immigration Reform," summarizes the results of an extensive survey of 4,465 U.S. adults, conducted between January 28 and February 24, 2013. By wide margins, respondents expressed support for legalization of the unauthorized, changes in the underlying legal immigration rules, and enforcement of the law. The survey found low levels of support for deportation and self-deportation policies as "the best way" to address the nation's 11 million unauthorized residents.

On the issue of legalization, 77 percent of respondents supported allowing the unauthorized to become either U.S. citizens (63 percent) or permanent legal residents (14 percent). Nearly two-thirds of Republicans favored either a path to citizenship (53 percent) or permanent legal residence (13 percent). Sixty-eight percent of respondents (up from 62 percent in 2011) believed that a combination of enforcement and a path to citizenship was the best way to solve the illegal immigration problem, versus 29 percent who supported securing U.S. borders and arresting and deporting all unauthorized immigrants. Sixty-one percent favored or strongly favored allowing unauthorized persons brought to the United States as children, who join the military or attend college, to gain legal status. [...]

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