More Americans believe that illegal immigrants should not be granted a path to citizenship than think they should, according to a newly released Pew Research Center poll. But a strong majority believe that some legal way should be found for them to stay, even if they don’t become citizens.
The poll suggests that the centerpiece of Obama’s immigration agenda – a pathway to eventual citizenship – lacks popular support.
According to the survey, only 43 percent of Americans think illegal immigrants should be eligible for citizenship. Another 24 percent say illegals should be eligible for permanent residency while 27 percent believe they should not be permitted to remain in the country legally, meaning 51 percent oppose citizenship.
On the other hand, 71 percent said illegal immigrants should be permitted to stay by some means, whether through citizenship, permanent residency, or some other means.
Even among Hispanics, just 49 percent back a path to citizenship for those who came here illegally. African Americans were the most enthusiastic about allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country legally, with 52 percent supporting a path to citizenship.