Poll: Most Americans Back Path To Citizenship For Illegal Immigrants

The Battleground Poll that James Joyner wrote about earlier today contained another interesting piece of information that is directly relevant to the Republican Party’s ongoing problems:

A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground poll finds that 62 percent of those surveyed support an immigration reform proposal that would allow illegal or undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship over a period of several years. Thirty-five percent oppose it.

The national poll, conducted last week, finds more Republicans — 49 percent — support a path to citizenship than oppose it — 45 percent. Democrats favor this approach 3-to-1, 74 percent to 24 percent. And independents back it by a 26-point margin, 61 percent to 35 percent.

The poll reveals significantly greater overall support, 77 percent, for an immigration law that allows the children of illegal or undocumented immigrants to earn the right to stay here permanently if they complete a college degree or serve in the military. Just 19 percent oppose this key element of the so-called DREAM Act.

The White House reportedly plans to aggressively push immigration reform in January after the resolution of the fiscal cliff that will include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people now living illegally in this country.

A plurality of 48 percent disapproves of President Barack Obama’s handling of the immigration issue, with 45 percent approving. The Democratic incumbent took fire during the campaign from Latinos for not aggressively pushing reform during his first term.

“The public is there for immigration reform,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, who helped conduct the bipartisan poll. “The Republicans are marginalizing themselves and losing Latino voters, and their own base is not even with them.”

Indeed, the GOP is marginalizing themselves, and only further continuing to alienate the fastest growing minority group in the country. If the Obama Administration is serious about pushing immigration reform after in the next Congress, it’s going to be very interesting to see how many Republicans are going to be willing to go alone with them. Something tells me that the GOP caucuses in the House and Senate are not going to be united on these issues.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Congress, Public Opinion Polls, Race and Politics, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I have no particular problem with the DREAM Act but I can’t help but wonder if it’s being oversold. How many people can actually satisfy the requirements? The problem is proving that you fit into the class that the DREAM Act serves.

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Again, at the risk of beating dead elephants, to what extent are those poll numbers skewed by the fact that tons of people out there in Zombieland don’t know the differences between citizenship and lawful residency? That lack of knowledge simply has to be affecting those survey results. It’s naive to think otherwise.

    That aside, there’s no doubt that lawful permanent residency for working illegals without criminal histories should be on the table as part of any reform package. There’s also no doubt that the public at large would support that. A path to citizenship for people brought here illegally as children has various degrees of merit. But prospective citizenship across the board for illegals, however, is a far different story, and it should necessitate a lot more thought and circumspection.

  3. “prospective citizenship across the board” is not was a “path to citizenship” is about.

  4. Gustopher says:

    How about we start by jailing the employers of illegal immigrants? From the left, I would say that the main problems of illegal immigration are depression of wages, and creating a caste of workers who do not have full protections under the law (complain about safety violations, get deported…) — things that benefit the employers. So hurt the employers.

    And then, start a comprehensive plan for immigration, bringing in the people that our country needs, and putting them on a path towards citizenship. Not a guest worker program, citizenship. Give the new immigrants a reason to become Americans, and make our country stronger. The numbers allowed in can be made a function of unemployment numbers for people with their skills in the states they would settle in.

    As for the ones that are here already — they’re already here, they are part of the community, they have ties to the community. It would be heartless to deport them. If their criminal records are clean, they are first in line for legal immigration — displacing those who are otherwise waiting. It’s not a great outcome, but it’s the least worst.

  5. superdestroyer says:

    I doubt that any conservative party can survive in a country where 62% of voters support an immigraiton policy of open borders in slow motion (everyone who makes it here and hangs around a few years gets to be a citizen).

    The real question to ask everyone is what are they willing to give up to have open borders.

  6. Whitfield says:

    I have studied this and found that the majority of these people are: hard working, self reliant, honest, have strong traditional family structure, obey the laws, very faithful, and their children behave in school. (how did the Republicans miss out ? )
    Here is a tradeoff that will help them and us: gather up the thugs, murderers, drug dealers, child predators, and other vermin who have been let go repeatedly by the judges. Put them on a one way bus and drop them off in a desert or jungle anywhere south of the border!!
    “Hasta la vista, baby!”