First-ever poll of illegals: 87 percent will seek citizenship

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Nearly nine of 10 illegal immigrants will seek U.S. citizenship if the so-called Gang of Eight's comprehensive immigration passes, according to a groundbreaking survey of undocumented immigrants.

A new poll from Latino Decisions found that 87 percent of those immigrants will apply for citizenship if the laws are changed, a stunning figure that suggests more than 9 million want to stay in the United States. There are an estimated 11 million illegal or undocumented immigrants in the country.

The poll of 400 Latino adults who self-identified as "non-citizens and not legal permanent residents" also found that most have already set up home in the U.S., which they view as the best place for jobs and family.

The highly unusual poll provided to Secrets, for example, found that 62 percent already have an American-born child and that 95 percent have another member of their family living in the United States, mostly brothers, sisters and cousins.

What's more, most have been in the United States for years. More than two-thirds reported living in America for more than a decade. And with 81 percent arriving in the United States at or below the age of 30, they are poised to change the face of the nation over the coming decades.

The poll was done for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund and America's Voice Education Fund.