Melissa Clyne, Newsmax, June 10, 2014
While Congress can’t seem to reach a consensus on how to tackle immigration reform, American voters are not waffling.
A recent poll conducted by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution finds that nearly two-thirds of registered voters–62 percent–favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already living in the United States, while just 17 percent favor legal permanent-resident status, but not citizenship.
Even more striking is the fervor with which voters want to see Congress take action. More than half of the 1,538 voters surveyed–53 percent [Ed: the number is actually 51 percent]–said they will be less likely to vote for a candidate opposed to giving illegal immigrants citizenship.
The issue could prove especially prickly for Republicans, because 51 percent of establishment members of the GOP support a path to citizenship, according to the poll, while just 37 percent of those aligned with the tea party feel the same way. The same number, 37 percent, support a policy that would identify and deport illegal immigrants.
Twenty-three percent of tea party-affiliated voters favor offering permanent legal resident status but stopping short of allowing those in the country illegally to become citizens.
With the exception of white evangelicals, a majority religious groups across the board favor a path to citizenship. The breakdown is as follows: Catholics, 63 percent; minority Protestants, 62 percent; white Protestants, 58 percent. The religiously unaffiliated trumped the religious in their support. Sixty-eight percent want a path to citizenship. Just fewer than half–48 percent–of white evangelical Protestants favor citizenship, an 8-point drop since March 2013.
[Editor’s Note: When asked their position on immigrant, respondents were given four options: 1) “Allow them a way to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements”; 2) “Allow them to become permanent legal residents, but not citizens”; 3) “Identify and deport them” 4) “None of these”. Notably absent were options to maintain the status quo, or to pursue less rigorous enforcement options such as attrition through enforcement, which is the preferred policy of almost all mainstream proponents of immigration enforcement.]