More Than 60 Percent Support a "Path to Citizenship"

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 21 2013 12:43 PM

Survey: More Than 60 Percent of Americans Support a "Path to Citizenship"

Screen shot 2013-03-21 at 11.14.52 A

PRRI.

This week's debate following media reports (including the Slatest) claiming that Senator Rand Paul had endorsed a "path to citizenship" as a part of immigration reform made clear that the Republican party is still not unified on a new immigration platform. But a new survey on immigration reform out today indicates that the American public, at least, has a clear majority opinion: More than 60 percent of Americans support an earned "path to citizenship" for immigrants currently living illegally in in United States. That includes majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents, and majorities in every major religious group.

The survey, from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution, offered three reform options to respondents: "earned" citizenship, meaning that immigrants residing illegally in the United States would have the opportunity to earn American citizenship under certain conditions; an immigration system that offers a permanent legal resident option, but not a path to citizenship; and identification and deportation. 63 percent of Americans favored the citizenship option, 14 percent preferred the permanent legal resident option, and 21 percent would rather identify and deport. The number of Americans supporting a path to citizenship increased to 68 percent when asked to choose between securing our borders while offering earned citizenship, and securing our borders while identifying and deporting. Twenty-nine percent of Americans supported the latter. 

Advertisement

As for religious groups, here's PRRI's breakdown of the numbers: 

Hispanic Catholics (74%), Hispanic Protestants (71%), black Protestants (70%), Jewish Americans (67%), Mormons (63%), white Catholics (62%), white mainline Protestants (61%), and white evangelical Protestants (56%) agree that the immigration system should allow immigrants currently living in the U.S. illegally to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements.

That means that one of the two major bases of the Republican party, white evangelicals, support a path to citizenship. Of all the partisan and religious groups surveyed for the study, only the Tea Party came short of a majority of support on a path to citizenship with 45 percent.

Instead, most tea partiers would opt for reform that either offers a permanent legal resident option, or identifies and deports immigrants living illegally in the country. The survey seems to confirm assumptions leading to the GOP's rapid attempts to change its immigration stance after the 2012 elections: 45 percent of Americans believe that the Republican Party's previous immigration policies have hurt them in recent elections. "Self-deportation," specifically, was favored by just 34 percent of Americans, while nearly two-thirds didn't think it was the best reform option.

There's a lot of interesting stuff in the longer report, which covers everything from immigration policy to American nostalgia for the 1950's to American perception of foreign influence. Read the full report here

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Propublica
Oct. 17 2014 4:21 PM Why the Poor Pay $1,400 for Old iPads #MuckReads: A weekly roundup of investigative reporting from ProPublica.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 1:54 PM Republican Midterm Debate Strategy: Be Pro-Life, But Not Anti-Abortion
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 19 2014 7:30 AM Persistence Pays Off: The Smoking Trail of a Shooting Star
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.