Measuring public opinion on immigration over the last year

It’s been an ongoing heated debate regarding immigration since the Senate passed a comprehensive reform bill almost a year ago. Though the bill has been immensely divisive in Washington and has yet to be voted on by the GOP-led House of Representatives, opinion among American citizens in relation to the issue seems to be largely unchanging.

A recent survey put out in tandem by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution attempted to measure change in opinion regarding the matter since last year. What was revealed is that 62 percent of those who responded support having a means for undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship. That number represents an almost negligible decrease in respondents indicating this opinion, down from 63 percent last year.

The absence in change of opinion, interestingly enough, is not particularly tied in to the rate at which Americans approve of the leadership of President Barack Obama as a whole. As of June 2014, 64 percent of respondents have indicated dissatisfaction with the direction that the country is headed. This number is up 6 percent from the 58 percent who indicated dissatisfaction in March 2013. Robert P. Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, asserted that there isn’t a correlation between the two numbers, as people tend to view immigration reform as a national failing instead of a presidential one.

“Even though more people disapprove of the job President Obama is doing and with the country’s direction, that didn’t seem to affect their attitudes on immigration reform. If the issue was more closely tied with President Obama, you’d think support would go down,” Jones told The Washington Post. “There is no correlation.”

The study also indicated that 37 percent of respondents feel that allowing new immigrants to gain citizenship harms our society and threatens “traditional values,” while 58 percent felt that the process strengthens America. While immigration reform becomes a more pressing issue with each day, all that is clear is that a majority of the American people remain consistent in their desire for some resolution.