More Mexicans leave the U.S. than enter November 19, 2015
More Central Americans flee violence to enter U.S. November 14, 2015
Immigrants say about-face on visas costs them millions September 30, 2015
Asians to become largest U.S. immigrant group September 28, 2015
Everett attorney helps businesses navigate immigration issues September 21, 2015
Fewer babies being born in U.S. illegally September 12, 2015
Dutch find dead stowaway in planeís landing gear September 12, 2015
India, China outpace Mexico on U.S. immigration August 30, 2015
Texas denies birth certificates to U.S.-born children July 19, 2015
Most Americans back legal status for immigrants June 5, 2015
Those are the key findings of a new national poll, released Thursday, that reflects a positive shift in attitudes toward immigrants now in the United States. The survey, conducted March 13-17 by the Pew Research Center, comes as lawmakers in Washington are attempting to craft a comprehensive plan to deal with some 11 million people who are thought to be in the country illegally.
The new poll reveals opposition to granting legal status from about one in four Americans (27 percent) who say that immigrants who came illegally should not be allowed to stay in the country legally. The remainder are split over exactly how to grant legal status. The largest group (43 percent) say that immigrants living here illegally should be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. Another group (24 percent) say they should be allowed to apply for permanent legal residency, but not allowed to gain citizenship. Six percent don't know or refuse to answer. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The survey also found that the improving economy appears to have reduced opposition to immigration, both legal and illegal.
Nearly half of all Americans (49 percent) say immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talent. That is the highest percentage on that question since September 2000. Conversely, a smaller proportion (41 percent) say immigrants are a burden because they take U.S. jobs, health care and housing.
About three years ago, in June 2010, the balance of opinion was anti-immigrant. As the economy was struggling to emerge from the worst recession since the Great Depression, half of those questioned by Pew (50 percent) considered immigrants a burden to the United States, while just 39 percent said they strengthen the country.
In the new poll, support for granting legal status is highest among blacks (82 percent), Latinos (80 percent) and those with a college degree (84 percent). It is lower among whites without a college degree (61 percent) and those aged 50-64 (65 percent). But across all demographic groups, a majority say they wanted illegal immigrants to be given a way to stay in the U.S. legally.
The differences are relatively muted along partisan lines. While 76 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents say they favor some form of legal status, fully two out of three Republicans (64 percent) say they do, too.
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