Vast majority supports legal status for illegal immigrants in poll

 

Only 19 percent of the public wants to deport all illegal immigrants, while the vast majority in a new poll expresses support for some form of legal status.

Sixty-two percent of people favors providing illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship if they meet certain requirements, according to the poll released Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution. That's about the same as the number who supported a path to citizenship in a similar poll in March 2013. 

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The new poll also found 17 percent supports allowing illegal immigrants to become permanent legal residents but not citizens.

Nineteen percent, by contrast, supports a policy that would identify and deport them all.

A majority of Democrats (70 percent), independents (61 percent) and Republicans (51 percent) favor a path to citizenship.

A majority also backs letting children who came to the U.S. illegally stay if they go to college or join the military.

Eighty percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 52 percent of Republicans support letting such children stay in the country.

About a quarter of people say immigration reform should be the top priority for Congress and President Obama. Nearly half say it should be a high priority, but not the highest. A quarter also say it’s a low priority. 

The survey comes after Obama ordered the Department of Homeland Security to delay its review of the government’s deportation policy in hopes that Congress would pass immigration reform by the August recess. 

The poll surveyed 1,538 adults between April 7 and April 27, and has a 3.3 percentage point margin of error.

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