Americans Agree Immigration Policy Needs Change

A Pew Research Center for the People survey found that Americans overwhelmingly say the nation’s immigration policy is in need of sweeping changes. Of the entire survey populous, 75% say immigration policy needs at least major changes, 35% of whom say the system needs to be “completely rebuilt.”

The difference in opinion amongst those who say reform is necessary resides among ideas on how to deal with legal and illegal immigration.

The latest survey on immigration from the Pew Research was conducted May 1-5, 2013 and consisted of 1,054 adults. Of the participants, some 73% say there should be a way for illegal immigrants already in the United States, and who meet certain criteria, to stay in the states. But less than half, some 44%, favor allowing those illegal residents to apply for legal US citizenship.

When it comes to legal immigration, the decision is split on whether the level of immigration should be decreased (36%) or increased (25%).

While most Americans see immigration policy in need of major changes, the survey found that the public has yet to fully engage with the congressional debate over immigration legislation. About one-in-five (19%) are following the immigration debate very closely. Only about half (46%) know that the immigration bill before Congress would allow people currently in the United States illegally to stay here while applying for citizenship; even fewer (37%) know the bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of senators. And nearly four-in-ten (38%) have no opinion about the immigration legislation before Congress, while 33% favor it and 28% are opposed.