Majority Of Americans Support Path To Citizenship For Illegal Immigrants
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows majority support for immigration reform that includes allowing people here illegally to eventually become citizens:
Fifty-seven percent of Americans in this survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, with 39 percent opposed. That’s virtually identical to results of a similar question last asked in mid-2010, with support up from its earlier levels, as low as 49 percent in late 2007.
Debate on the issue was heightened by restrictive immigration policies enacted in Arizona in 2010 and Alabama in 2011, and, in June, when Obama moved in another direction, granting immunity from deportation to many undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children.
Hispanics accounted for 10 percent of voters in Tuesday’s presidential election, reaching double-digits for the first time, and Obama won them by 71-27 percent, improving on his 2008 margin in this group. In the exit poll, voters overall, by more than 2-1, said illegal immigrants working here should be offered a chance to apply for legal status rather than being deported.
In this survey, support for a path to citizenship peaks at 82 percent among Hispanics, 71 percent among Democrats and liberals alike and 69 percent among young adults, all key Obama groups. Support’s at 68 percent among nonwhites overall, compared with 51 percent among non-Hispanic whites. Obama lost white voters by 20 points last week, but won nonwhites — who accounted for a record 28 percent of the electorate – by 61 points. It was a record racial gap.
If nothing else, numbers like this should provide some political cover to legislators who support an immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. It should also send notice to Republicans that they’re on the wrong side of this issue, although one would have thought their performance among Latino voters would have sent that message quite loudly.