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Majority Of Americans Want Undocumented Immigrants To Be Able To Stay In The Country Legally

A recent survey published by the Pew Research Center indicates that almost three-quarters of Americans want there to be a provision for illegal immigrants in the country to attain legal status.

Majority Of Americans Want Undocumented Immigrants To Be Able To Stay In The Country Legally

While the Trump administration doubles down on its controversial immigration policies, it appears a vast majority of Americans want there to be a legal way for undocumented immigrants to stay in the country. This trend was indicated by a recent survey published by the Pew Research Center on Monday which shows that almost three-quarters of American citizens agree there should be a way for asylum seekers currently staying in the country illegally to attain legal status as long as they meet certain criteria. The findings of the survey come on the heels of immigration authorities rounding up a record-setting number of undocumented immigrants from across Mississippi.


These raids, which according to the US Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, Mike Hurst, is believed to be "the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation's history," detained about 680 undocumented immigrants from seven sites in six Mississippi cities. As per a CNN report, the immigration sweep took place right after the survey, which was conducted from late July to early August this year. The data collected during this period found that 72% of Americans "say undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally if certain conditions are met."


Although a good number of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree on the same (54%), this number seems to be declining as there has been a 5% points drop since a March 2017 Pew poll. In comparison, Democrats and Democratic leaners overwhelmingly support the need for a legal provision to let illegal immigrants stay in the country, with 87% voting yes, albeit only if certain conditions are met. Meanwhile, 23% of Americans supports a national effort to deport all illegal immigrants living in the country. 


On the other hand, 69% of Americans also believe that those who are in the country illegally are no more likely to commit serious crimes than legal citizens. While a large majority (77%) say "undocumented immigrants mostly fill the jobs that American citizens don’t want," 73% consider them to be as honest and hardworking as American citizens. Although Republicans are less positive in their views of undocumented immigrants when compared to Democrats, nearly two-thirds of Republicans are of the opinion that illegal immigrants mostly take jobs citizens do not want.


When it comes to which party's immigration policies are more appealing to American citizens, there appears to be an even split with 40% voting for the Democratic party and 39% voting Republican. However, it turns out Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are slightly more likely to agree with their party's views when compared to Democrats and Democratic leaners. Based on their political affiliation, the 4,175 adults who took part in the online poll also appear to have significantly different priorities regarding the humanitarian crisis at the US border with Mexico. 


Although 91% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans agree that it is "at least somewhat important that asylum seekers are provided safe and sanitary conditions once they arrive in the U.S.," Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to consider it a very important requirement (71% vs. 32%). A similar disparity was observed in the question of whether it is important to increase the number of judges handling asylum cases. While 89% of Democrats and Democratic leaners and 83% of Republicans and Republican leaner say yes, a larger share of Democrats (58%) consider it very important when compared to Republican survey participants (45%). 


The poll also addressed the matter of curbing the number of immigrants seeking asylum in America. While majorities in both political parties agree that it is important to reduce the number of people coming to the U.S. to seek asylum, more than twice the number of Republicans (65%) consider it very important as compared to Democrats (24%). Only a third of Democrats agree with the majority of Republicans (77%) who believe it should be harder for asylum seekers to gain legal status in the country. Overall, a majority of Americans believe the government is doing a bad job dealing with the immigration crisis at the border. The poll was conducted online from July 22 to August 5 among a nationally representative sample of 4175 adult citizens.

Source: Pew Research Center

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