Poll: 72 Percent Say Let Immigrants Stay

Poll: 72 Percent Say Let Immigrants Stay
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Arms are opening a little wider for undocumented immigrants who want to live in America legally.

That’s the analysis released by Pew Research Center Thursday, showing that 72 percent of Americans believe undocumented immigrants who are here now should have an option to stay, in one of two ways:  42 percent believe they should be able to apply for citizenship, while 26 percent say permanent residency is enough.

Support for letting undocumented immigrants stay spans the political spectrum, as a majority of Democrats (80 percent), Independents (76 percent), and Republicans (56 percent) say they should remain as long as they meet the “proper requirements.”

But the cross-party concurrence stops there.

Though the majority of Republicans want immigrants to stay, 63 percent say they’re a burden on America because they take housing, health care, and jobs – in contrast to Democrats, 67 percent of whom say undocumented immigrants’ work ethic fortifies the nation.

A majority of Republicans (58 percent) believes giving legal status to undocumented immigrants unduly rewards them, while only 23 percent of Democrats hold that view.

Americans are split on how to proceed with legal immigration, though, as 31 percent believe immigrant numbers should decrease, 24 percent want to see an increase, and 39 percent like the status quo. The Pew analysis found economic status influences a person’s views – the lower the income, the greater the desire for a decrease in legal immigration, and vice-versa for higher earners.

Among other survey findings:

-- About 51 percent of survey participants want to see improvements in border control.

-- A majority of Republicans are dissatisfied with the GOP’s action on immigration, while a majority of Democrats are satisfied with their party’s action.

-- Obama received some of his lowest immigration policy approval ratings ever (56 percent) in a May survey.

The survey of 2,002 adults, conducted May 12-18 via telephone, has a margin error of 2.5 percentage points.

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