Poll: Arizonans Favor Path to Citizenship

A majority of Arizona residents support granting illegal immigrants in the state a pathway to citizenship, according to a poll taken by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University.

The poll asked respondents whether they would support a path to citizenship that involves illegal immigrants paying a fine, obtaining a taxpayer identification number and passing English language proficiency screenings.

Out of 600 respondents questioned through telephone interviews, 78 percent said they were in favor of such a policy. Eighty-nine percent of respondents who identified themselves as Democrats supported the policy, compared with 79 percent of Independents and 69 percent of Republicans.

“While the immigration issue has been characterized as a partisan one, these findings indicate that it is less so than most have believed,” stated Dr. David Daugherty, director of research at the Morrison Institute.

The poll results were announced two days after Arizona voters recalled Senate President Russell Pearce, the powerful Republican who authored the state’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law. Under that law, police officers were empowered to ask individuals for documents verifying citizenship status during routine traffic stops. The U.S. Department of Justice challenged the law and federal courts blocked many of its provisions from being implemented. In August, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the law’s constitutionality.

One of Pearce’s allies is Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, where 59 percent of the Morrison Poll respondents live. Arpaio said he doubts the accuracy of the poll, reported the Phoenix ABC affiliate, KNXV.

KNXV interviewed an ASU graduate student whose parents brought him to the country illegally as a teenager. He told the news source the poll gives him hope that Arizona might institute more immigrant-friendly policies that will alleviate the constant fear of deportation he lives with now.