Most Americans back path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, poll shows
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The majority of Americans favour giving millions of illegal immigrants a way to earn citizenship, according to a survey released on Thursday, highlighting public support for efforts in Congress to reform immigration law.
In the Public Religion Research Institute poll, 63 per cent of Americans said they supported a path to citizenship for undocumented foreigners if they meet certain requirements. Seventy-one per cent of Democrats and 53 per cent of Republicans backed eventually allowing illegal immigrants to become Americans.
The path to citizenship idea is the centerpiece of both a bipartisan immigration plan in the Senate and President Barack Obama's immigration reform proposals. This week, Republican Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian and favourite of the conservative Tea Party movement, called for legalisation of the 11 million undocumented foreigners, the majority of whom are from Latin America.
He stopped short of specifically urging a path to citizenship, but his statement nonetheless represents a shift in thinking for many conservatives, many of whom used to advocate deportation.