Most Americans back path to citizenship for illegal immigrants: Poll

Liz Goodwin
The Ticket

More than 60 percent of Americans back a path to citizenship for the nation's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, according to a new poll of nearly 4,500 people conducted by the Brookings think tank and the Public Religion Research Institute.

Those who identified as Democrat and independent were more likely to say immigrants should be given a chance to legalize and become citizens, with 71 percent and 64 percent of those groups, respectively, backing citizenship. But a slight majority of Republicans—53 percent—also said the immigration system should give illegal immigrants a chance to become citizens.

Both President Barack Obama and a bipartisan working group of senators have released immigration reform blueprints that include a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants that would take more than 10 years. This piece of the proposal has raised the ire of some conservatives, who say offering citizenship is "amnesty" that will encourage more illegal immigration.

Obama has said passing immigration reform is one of his top priorities for his second term, but the Brookings poll found that immigration was near the bottom of Americans' priority list, after jobs, the deficit and other issues.