The phrase “path to citizenship” is either two words or three, depending on whether one counts the conjunction.
Either way, it’s obviously a short phrase. And yet it has become fraught with contention as Congressional inaction continues on comprehensive immigration reform.
As we have repeatedly articulated in this blog, a broad range of stakeholders supports the goal of creating a framework for obtaining citizenship or at least legal status for the millions of undocumented people who live in the U.S. There are perhaps as many as 11 million people who are currently undocumented and therefore at risk of deportation.
In this post, we will take note of a recent survey showing strong support among the American people for creating a path to citizenship for these people.
The survey was conducted by a group called the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). It found that 77 percent of Americans support finding a way to legalize the status of undocumented immigrants.
PRRI also found that 18 percent of Americans are in favor of identifying and deporting undocumented immigrants.
To be sure, 18 percent is not an insignificant percentage. But it is far exceeded by the 63 percent of Americans that, according to the survey, support finding a path to citizenship for undocumented people who meet certain conditions.
In addition to the 63 percent who favor a path to citizenship, 14 percent of the Americans in the survey said they favor allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the country legally as permanent residents.
So, doing the math, that makes 77 percent of Americans who support some sort of path toward legalization of status for immigrants who are undocumented.
Moreover, the support for a path toward is citizenship cuts across political and religious lines.
Despite Congressional inaction, then, the push for a path to citizenship is not likely to go away.
Source: The Washington Post, “Across religious and party lines, steady support for path to citizenship,” Robert P. Jones, Nov. 25, 2013