News / USA

Pew: Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants

Invited students from Yuma and Pueblo, Colorado, listen to a Colorado Legislature debate on a bill which would grant in-state tuition to undocumented students, inside the State Capitol, in Denver, March 5, 2013.
Invited students from Yuma and Pueblo, Colorado, listen to a Colorado Legislature debate on a bill which would grant in-state tuition to undocumented students, inside the State Capitol, in Denver, March 5, 2013.
A new survey finds the majority of Americans say there should be a way for foreigners living illegally in the United States to stay in the country if they meet certain conditions.

The study published Thursday by the Pew Research Center shows 71 percent of Americans favor granting legal status to the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. What kind of legal status, though, is a more divisive issue.

x
Forty-three percent of the public supports a path to citizenship, while 27 percent prefers just legal residency.

 The United States is struggling with a 7.7 percent unemployment rate, a condition that in the past has motivated many native-born Americans to accuse foreigners of stealing jobs and using up social resources.

Despite the sluggish economy, Pew’s national survey of 1,501 adults conducted earlier this month found that “overall attitudes about immigrants in the United States are more positive than negative.”

The support for granting legal status to undocumented immigrants reached across racial and political lines.

The Pew survey found that about 80 percent of both Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks, and 67 percent of non-Hispanic whites, support granting legal status to undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements.

Among the requirements being considered by lawmakers drafting immigration reform are fines, back taxes and a background check.

Impact on the country

Nearly half of the respondents, 49 percent, said they agreed that “immigrants today strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents.” The opposite view attracted 41 percent of respondents, who agreed to a statement saying that “immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care.”

Public perceptions of immigrants’ impact on the country have changed significantly in the past nearly two decades. In July 1994, 63 percent of survey respondents viewed immigrants as a burden rather than a strength.

Despite the overall improved perceptions of immigrants’ contributions to the U.S., there are divisions on the subject across political and racial lines.

Pew found that 74 percent of Hispanics said immigrants’ hard work and talents strengthen the country, while 52 percent of blacks and just 41 percent of whites felt the same way.

Fifty-eight percent of Democrats said immigrants strengthen the country, but most Republicans said they are a burden because they take jobs and health care.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs