According to a new Pew Research poll, a majority of Americans, 55 percent, oppose granting citizenship to immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. An even bigger majority, however, 71 percent, believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country legally.
Perhaps most surprisingly, no demographic is more supportive of granting citizenship to illegal immigrants than blacks. In fact, at 52 percent, blacks are the only demographic of which a majority supports granting illegal immigrants citizenship. Only 49 percent of Hispanics, 48 percent of Democrats, and 47 percent of college graduates back citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Republican, 38 percent, and whites without a college degree, also 38 percent, are the least supportive of citizenship benefits for illegal immigrants.
Unlike most polls, Pew did not force a false choice on respondents between a path to citizenship or deportation. Instead they offered, “should not be allowed to stay in the country legally,” “be able to apply for U.S. citizenship,” or “be able to apply for permanent residency, but not U.S. citizenship.”
Twenty-seven percent chose “should not be allowed to stay in the country legally.” Forty-three percent chose “be able to apply for U.S. citizenship.” And twenty-four percent chose “be able to apply for permanent residency, but not U.S. citizenship.”
Both President Obama and the Senate’s Gang of Ocho have produced plans that call for granting citizenship to illegal immigrants. Neither of the bills take the middle ground of only granting them permanent residency.