Americans overwhelmingly think undocumented immigrants currently in this country should be given a way to legally stay. According to a Pew Research poll, an incredible 71 percent think they should be granted some form of legal status, while only 27 percent oppose allowing them to stay. From Pew:
The poll found, though, that opinions varied on what form this legal status should take. Only a plurality, 43 percent, believe they should be eligible for citizenship, while an additional 24 percent think they should be allowed to legally remain, but only as permanent residents.
This is one of the key fault lines in any possible immigration reform legislation. Democrats want a pathway to citizenship but many House Republicans are unwilling to embrace the idea. Some House Republicans want to only provide these people with legal residency in an attempt to try to find a middle ground.
The problem for Republicans is that very few people in their base actually support this “halfway” position. It runs the real risk of alienating both sides while pleasing almost no one.
The poll found among regular Republicans, 38 percent support allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship, while 34 percent don’t think they should be able to stay at all. Only 22 percent think they should be allowed to just apply for permanent residency.