Majority of Americans Want Undocumented Immigrants to Stay

A new poll by the Pew Research Center has shown that two-thirds of Americans have voiced support for finding a way to help undocumented immigrants stay in the United States legally.

The survey released Monday comes only days after Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested over 680 illegal immigrants in a raid in six cities in Mississippi, in what is considered by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Mike Hurst to be “the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in U.S. history.”

The survey was conducted from late July to early August, prior to the raids, with 72 percent of respondents saying that they wish there was a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants, and about another quarter of Americans believe these immigrants should be deported, CNN reports.

According to the survey, the view that undocumented immigrants should be provided with the means to stay in the country legally is on the decline among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, falling 5 percentage points since March. However, the majority (54%) still hold this opinion.

About 42 percent of them support a law enforcement effort to deport undocumented immigrants, while this figure is slightly higher (49%) among conservative Republicans.

On the other hand, almost 9 in 10 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents support a legal way for undocumented immigrants to become citizens.

As for immigration policies, 40 percent agree with Democratic policies to deal with illegal immigration, 39 percent with Republican policies, and another 19 percent with neither.

The survey further found that 71 percent of Democrats and leaning-independents were of the opinion that asylum seekers at the border need to be provided with safe and sanitary conditions, while only 32 percent of Republicans and leaners said the same.

The majority of Republicans (65%) believe that the number of asylum seekers coming to the U.S. needs to be reduced, and about a quarter (24%) of Democrats share this opinion. A considerably higher percentage of Democrats also believe that the government is doing poorly in dealing with the increased number of people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Eighty-four percent of them think so, while about 44 percent of Republicans agree.

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