A large majority of US Americans are open to the idea of allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the country, according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Thursday, June 4.
Of the 2,002 adults surveyed, 72 percent said illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements should be allowed to remain in the country legally. However, of those in favor of granting immigrants legal status, 42 percent said they should be allowed to apply for citizenship, while 26 percent said they should only be permitted permanent residency.
The poll also showed that 81 percent of those under 30 years old support allowing illegal immigrants to stay, while 56 percent say the should be allowed citizenship.
As for legal immigration, 39 percent say they favor maintaining current levels. Over the last decade, the number of US Americans who favor less legal immigration has dropped from 51 percent in 2005 to just 31 percent in the latest poll.
The share of those who believe immigrants “strengthen the country through their hard work and talents” decreased from last year’s high of 57 percent to 51 percent. On the other hand, 41 percent agree immigrants “are a burden, because they take jobs, housing, and health care.”
Partisan differences were reflected in the survey, as only 27 percent of Republican respondents said immigrants strengthen the country, while 63 percent believe they are a burden. Among Democrats and independents, most say immigrants benefit the country, registering 62 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
“There are wide partisan differences in views of immigrants’ overall impact on the country today,” the study notes.
The survey was based on telephone interviews conducted between May 12-18, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.