Poll: Americans favor immigration reform proposals
February 5th, 2013
05:51 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Americans favor immigration reform proposals

(CNN) – A new poll shows more than seven in 10 Americans support policies that would pave a path toward citizenship or residency for undocumented immigrants.

Seventy-two percent say they favor allowing those here illegally to become legal residents or citizens if they meet certain requirements, according to the Gallup survey released Thursday.

That Gallup poll was conducted at the end of January, shortly after President Barack Obama and members of Congress began resurrecting immigration reform as a top issue on the legislative agenda.

A strong majority of Americans support four other measures of potential reform, including:

- Requiring employers to verify that all new hires are living in the U.S. legally (85% approve)

- Creating a system to track the departure of foreigners who enter the U.S. through airports and seaports (71% approve)

- Increase the number of visas for legal immigrants who have advanced skills in technology and science (71% approve)

- Increase government spending on security measures and enforcement at U.S. borders (68% approve)

Also of note, a majority of Republicans support all five measures asked about in the poll, including 59% who favor a chance to become legal residents or citizens.

The survey comes as Obama and Congress have pushed immigration reform to the forefront of national dialogue in recent days. Obama met with labor leaders and CEOs at the White House Tuesday to discuss the issue and traveled to Las Vegas last week to highlight his own proposals.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders have also been calling for major reform. A bipartisan group of eight senators, including Republican Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio, last week laid out their framework for immigration reform, which includes a pathway to citizenship.

The so-called Gang of Eight's plan would call for border security measures to a higher priority than building a pathway to citizenship, but the Gallup survey shows that Americans "give roughly equal support to both."

Obama has said he'd like to see legislation pass in the first half of the year and vows to introduce a bill of his own should Congress fail to act. The bottom line is that both parties largely agree reform should take place, though they disagree on the details.

Gallup surveyed 1,019 adults by telephone from January 30-31, with a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.


Filed under: Immigration • Polls
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. nothing new here

    These people need to be in the system, so they can start paying taxes.
    Pay up! And start getting rid of these tax loopholes, esp. for religious organizations, and the uber-rich.
    Plain and simple, there is nothing more that I feel I need to say on this matter.

    February 5, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. confused

    I would also weasel in a clause to speak English as well. I speak 3 languages near fluently, and English isnt my first, but needed it to live here. No one should be treated with any special interest and different.

    February 5, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Speaker Boehner will suffer further embarassment when he can't deliver enough votes from his own caucus to pass immigration reform legislation. Again, he will have to depend on Minority Leader Pelosi for Democratic votes. HIs leadership will go down as one of the weakest in history.

    February 5, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  4. RJCousin

    "Also of note, a majority of Republicans support all five measures asked about in the poll, including 59% who favor a chance to become legal residents or citizens. "

    Note to CNN: quit trying to paint the situation as Republicans not wanting Immigration...

    Republicans do not mind Immigration in the least. What they DO mind is when people do not follow the laws and the processes that have been put into place for an organized immigration process. If someone wants to become a citizen – that is a beautiful thing. As long as they are here to become a productive part of society fantastic! When the borders allow people to cross without proper documentation or without rules THAT is where the problem is.

    To Republicans – we see people that want to become a productive part of our society. We want them to be able to have the opportunity to earn their way to the American Dream...

    To this crop of Democrats in charge – they see them as potential votes and dues paying members.

    February 5, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  5. Frank

    If you are a good student, never got in trouble with the law, give them a chance and have them be a tax payer like all of us. If you came here as a child by having no choice because your parents came, give them a chance too because you can't expect those to go back to the home country they have never been and wouldn't even know how to start a life. But if you are here be a gangster, get in trouble, mess around, buy prostitutes, hurt people, GET OUT. Yes i'm talking about you, Puerto Ricans.

    February 5, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Frank

    United states need to get rid of Puerto Rico and take care of them.

    February 5, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    Did you ever go to NJ, NY etc. if you did, you say we need to reduce number of immigrants here and number of H1B visas and visitor visas and even J1visas. Lon run outlook needs to be looked at. Tighten immigration. Do not give immigrations as you please–be it doctors or IT.

    February 5, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. Galactus93

    They never called me. We need a Federal Government that will enforce our immigration laws. Deport all illegal aliens. That is the law.

    February 5, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. Pepper

    Seven in 10 Americans support policies that would pave a path toward citizenship or residency for undocumented immigrants?
    II know alot of people and no one wants more illegals to become citizens. We don't like to reward
    llaw breakers. Even kids, parents knew the law and broke it anyway so the whole family needs
    to go back to where they came from. And then do it the right way to come into our country.

    When will it ever stop? We can't take care of every country that the people will not fight for the rights they want. It's just not fair when we work and our taxes goes to others that don't work.

    February 5, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. Name lynn

    leave them latinos alone. they havent done nothing to you people, nor them white house leaders.

    February 5, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  11. qwiksilver

    "Path to citizenship" will be the same nightmare we had before. We will get a huge swell in numbers coming in to take advantage of it, no one will get documented and we will still be saddled with the same issue we have today. Only this time instead of debating 11 million (approx.) we will be debating 22 million (approx.). Bad immigration policy killed Greece. It will do us in as well. We are not immune.

    February 5, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  12. consequence

    Sounds like they did this poll in San Antonio...what is wrong with people who have no interest in enforcing u.s. law? Americans have nothing to gain from legalizing illegal aliens. They are a financial burden on both sides of the ledger, they have scoffed at our laws, they have enjoyed in-state rights that other Americans do not enjoy and, if you think there is an argument for the illegal immigrant who does your lawn and those jobs Americans do not like to do, why would you want to legalize them? Do you really think they want those low paying jobs? What they want is your job...and we all know there are few enough of those to go around. Worse yet, we can see that latino legislators always favor legislation which brings in more latinos, so welcome to the snowball!

    February 5, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  13. David E.

    This is not immigration reform. Reform would be rewriting the immigration laws to eliminate red-tape and loopholes. By making immigration law simple and straightforward, you make it easier for those who really want to become citizens, and address the needs of those who are simply trying to help support their families in foreign countries. Don't want guest-workers? Fine, push for legislation to oppose it, but we need to rewrite the entire set of laws first. This current legislation is nothing more than a band-aid that will not truly address illegal immigration.

    February 5, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  14. John

    I wonder how many Americans wish our existing laws were inforced by those who swore to uphold them when they took office?

    Instead, we see lawsuits and obvious pandering for those who willingly violated the law. What a disgrace. Why exactly are we rewarding those who break the law? Why are we concerned with the rights of those who aren't even legally here? They have the right to be detained, removed- and treated no differently than any other country treats those present illegally. There is a process, how about we just follow it and enforce it?

    February 5, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  15. RomneyWho

    Watch out for the republican party slight of hand trick, you know, the old bait and switch. Yeah, that's right, the old fake Hollywood building that's just a facade, where the front door is also the back door. They don't want you, they only want your vote. :(

    February 5, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  16. Gambi

    Supporting imigration reform is an important issue. We must give those that are here and who have been hard working and law abiding a pathway to citizenship deportation is out of the question. Pay a fine, learn english, serve in our millitary, pay taxes, just some of the steps that could be taken to earn their way. We must offer foreign students who are highly educated in our universities a choice to to stay with work visas and a pathway towards citizenship and we must secure our borders to stop the flow of more illegals entering this country.

    February 5, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  17. wigglwagon

    I wonder what the results would be if they did a poll of the millions of unemployed Americans?

    February 6, 2013 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  18. Facts don't Lie

    Just think if Congress did whatever the American people favored we would have

    tighter gun laws with background checks
    a jobs bill with spending for infrastructure
    a lower tax plan
    legal gay marriage
    keeping abortion legal
    ending tax breaks and loopholes for companies like big oil
    I think you know the drift.

    February 6, 2013 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  19. Sebastian

    American people have heart...

    February 6, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  20. John

    Any poll is only as good as the way the questions are written and asked. I'd love to see the numbers for the percentage of Americans in favor of enforcing current immigration laws.

    Instead, we're made to believe everyone wants to welcome law-breakers to education, healthcare and other "rights". I'm wondering why other countries can't share in allowing anyone who wants to come in the same? Forgive me, but follow the legal process or I have no sympathy. This is my 3rd try to post, perhaps any other views aren't welcome.

    February 6, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  21. empresstrudy

    Amnesty and throw your hands in the air and give up. It's the only thing that will 'work'.

    February 6, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |