Majority backs legal status for undocumented immigrants
© Francis Riviera

Almost three quarters of Americans want undocumented immigrants to remain in the country with legal status, including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans, according to a new Pew Hispanic Center poll.


Seventy-two percent of Americans back a pathway to legal status, compared to 27 percent who believe those undocumented immigrants should not be allowed to stay. Out of those who support the pathway, a plurality, 42 percent, support a pathway to citizenship. Twenty-six percent want those immigrants to only be eligible for permanent residency.

The poll, released Thursday, still shows a significant partisan gap between Republicans and Democrats. Eight out of 10 Democrats back legal status for immigrants in the country illegally, while 56 percent of Republicans share that view.

Partisans also disagree on the impact of immigrants on the U.S. Sixty-two percent of Democrats believe that they "strengthen [the] country through hard work and talents," while 63 percent of Republicans believe they "burden [the] country by taking jobs, housing, [and] health care."

The new data comes as the presidential field begins to fall into place. Ten Republicans have officially declared, the vast majority against legal pathways for those living in the country illegally. Pundits have questioned whether candidates like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHouse passes bills to secure telecommunications infrastructure Senators call for answers from US firm over reported use of forced Uyghur labor in China Republicans would need a promotion to be 'paper tigers' MORE (Fla.) will have difficulties wooing the conservative base due to their previous support of those policies.

On the flip side, Democratic presidential candidates have widely embraced calls for a pathway to citizenship as they look to keep the coalition that propelled President Obama into the White House intact. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMeghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' Hill: Trump reelection would spur 'one constitutional crisis after another' Trump defends indicted GOP congressman MORE came out early in favor of a pathway, much to the pleasure of Democrats. But some have questioned whether she promised too much, as she would be unlikely to pass the policy through a Republican Congress if she won the presidency.

The poll sampled 2,002 American adults between May 12-18. The combined results have a margin of error of 2.5 points, the Democratic numbers have a 4.5-point margin and the Republican results have a 5-point margin.