Poll: Majority Supports Path To Citizenship For Illegal Immigrants

A new Quinnipiac poll shows that a majority of Americans support allowing people living in the country illegally to stay and eventually become citizens as part of a new comprehensive immigration reform plan:

Illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and eventually apply for citizenship, 59 percent of voters say, while 11 percent say they should be allowed to stay, but not apply for citizenship, and 25 percent say they should be required to leave the U.S.

Even among Republicans, the path to citizenship gets the support of a plurality of 47%, while deportation (which is never going to happen) has 36% support. The position that Republicans such as Marco Rubio and Rand Paul seem to be advocating, legal status with no chance of becoming citizens, gets a mere 10% support from Republicans polled. As Greg Sargent points out, this presents a dilemma for Congressional Republicans who generally oppose a path to citizenship:

This tells us something very important about the immigration debate. When all three positions are polled — and, in truth, the three options do represent the actual policy choice at the heart of the debate — the concocted “middle ground” position preferred by many GOP officials doesn’t really make anybody happy. It doesn’t even make Republicans happy. Only 10 percent of them support it.

The problem is that Republicans know that they must be seen embracing some sort of immigration reform. Yet the base’s opposition to reform is such that not even the proposal to keep undocumented immigrants in a kind of sub-citizenship legal category is enough to get them to support it. And so, ultimately, Republicans are going to have to decide: Who is calling the shots here, the sizable chunk of Republican voters who do support citizenship, or the hard core anti-immigration reform-at-all-costs base?

Second class citizenship is not the answer to the GOP dilemma here. Ultimately, Republicans either must bravely cross the path-to-citizenship Rubicon and accept the consequences from the right, or we’re not getting reform.

In the end, I am beginning to doubt that we’ll see any real immigration reform before the 2014 midterms. This is a change from my initial thoughts after the 2012 election when it seemed as though the GOP was coming around to see reality on this issue. With the exception of people like Rubio and, to some extent, Paul, however, the base of the GOP doesn’t appear to be moving off its hardline stance. As long as that continues to be the case, it’s unlikely that the GOP will change on this issue in sufficient numbers to allow something to make it through Congress. What that means for the 2014 elections is something we’ll just have to wait and see.

Update: This polling result is hardly an anomaly, as has been documented here, here, here, and here.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Doug Mataconis, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Picks, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, a majority of Zombieland probably could not find North Korea on a map of the world, even if you spotted them China, so it’s always wise to take certain types of polls with giant grains of salt. Grab 100 people at random from bars in any big city and ask them about the DREAM Act and most would assume you’re talking about a techno pop band, or something.

    In any event, comprehensive immigration reform is a no brainer, we’ve needed it done for decades, but if we wind up with another Reagan-Kennedy unfunded and then unenforced patchwork of mandates then in 20 years we might very well be back largely to square one.

    – Guest worker amnesty for working illegals without criminal histories = OK. Give them work visas and a path to green cards, but not citizenship.

    – A path to citizenship for young children of illegals or those brought here illegally as young children = OK. Obviously there are major differences between the dude who jumps the fence at age 20 and the infant who’s smuggled across the border at age 2.

    – We’d need a safe harbor period for employers to bring forward their illegal workers, to get them registered, background checked, and placed onto the tax rolls. After which we’d need utterly draconian sanctions and the money and political will to enforce them against companies which continue post-amnesty using black market labor.

    – We need higher and thicker border fences, more border agents, better technologies where fencing is not practicable, and then the money and political will to enforce the border post-amnesty. That’s largely where the Reagan-Kennedy plan failed, miserably.

    The prospects at best are uncertain. The idiot left is hell bent on open borders and non-enforcement. They’re also far more concerned about the effect on labor unions than getting rid of illegal labor pools. For their part the extreme, xenophobic right categorically rejects amnesty under any terms. It’s a recipe for gridlock. But we’ll see. Stranger things have happened.




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  2. @Tsar Nicholas: Zombieland again?

    Grab 100 people at random from bars in any big city and ask them about the DREAM Act and most would assume you’re talking about a techno pop band, or something.

    I’m okay with that. Surely, like the rest of us, they are afflicted with finite attention spans. They spend their time plumbing or driving a truck or writing out code and cannot be bothered with all the minutiae of the political process, nor should they be. That code ain’t gonna write itself!

    I shall not blame the “unwashed masses” for being uninformed until I have sufficiently blamed the elites for misinforming them.

    For example:

    Obviously there are major differences between the dude who jumps the fence at age 20 and the infant who’s smuggled across the border at age 2.

    Obviously…. What are they? The 20 year old fence jumper made a decision to improve his life, rules be damned, and the 2 year old, what….just got lucky?

    If you’re humane enough to give the 2 year old some leeway, it’s not that difficult to do the same for the 20 year old. Indeed, we can do it without making up dumb reasons NOT to.

    or this:

    We’d need “a safe harbor period”…then “we’d need utterly draconian sanctions?”

    Right….because the best way to quit drinking is to get really really drunk one night, then quit the next day. What should we call this method? Binge and Purge?

    Or this:

    We need higher and thicker border fences, more border agents, better technologies where fencing is not practicable

    Ah yes. Just in the south right? I mean, we don’t need to fence off Canada, right? That would be prohibitively expensive, considering we’d have to seal off not just the lower 48, but Alaska too.

    Build a fence to keep the Mexicans out of Arizona. Fine. You stopped the flow from one country into one area. Now what are you gonna do about the rest of the world?

    The idiot left is hell bent on open borders and non-enforcement.

    Um……no. It may seem like that in the little snowglobe you use to divine domestic politics, but the….ahem…..idiot left is hell bent on immigration reform. All plans include stepped up enforcement, because not only is the idiot left not pushing for “non-enforcement,” they are trying to get a few idiot Republicans to go along with it.

    You wanna cry about “zombieland” while you’re pushing this “the left wants open borders” nonsense? Go for it. Just do not expect to be taken seriously as well.




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  3. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post
    and the rest of the site is very good.




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  4. An Interested Party says:

    Well, a majority of Zombieland probably could not find North Korea on a map of the world, even if you spotted them China…

    That’s rich coming from someone who doesn’t know the majority of the people and organizations referenced on this site on a daily basis…projecting yet again, sweetie…




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