Immigration reform and providing a path to citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have been debated across the country.Recently, leaders in the House Republican Party published a set of principles for immigration reform that included an endorsement for the legalization of the millions of immigrants living in the U.S. However, those principles did not provide information on granting immigrants a pathway to citizenship, and instead focused on granting legal status only.
Several reputable organizations have conducted polls earlier this year to gauge Americans’ opinions on immigration reform. Five such polls clearly show that the public strongly supports immigration reform that does include a pathway to citizenship. The majority of Americans polled rejected an approach to immigration reform that would continue to give undocumented immigrants second-class status, and those Americans have expressed that they will be disappointed if immigration reform fails to pass this year.
Gallup, CBS News and CNN/ORC International conducted separate polls and found that more than half of Americans said that the first priority of the government should be to provide a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants living in the country. Only 41 percent felt that stopping undocumented immigration should be the top priority. These results were relatively consistent regardless of whether the respondent was a Republican, a Democrat or an independent. Fox New’s’ poll reached the same results, as well as reinforced the participants’ opposition to mass deportations of undocumented individuals.
Democratic polling firm Global Strategy Group found similar beliefs among the Americans it surveyed. Its results also concluded that voters disagree with Congress’s declaration that immigration reform can wait. Nearly nine out of 10 pollsters feel that DREAMers (young, undocumented immigrants) should be allowed to become citizens.