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Polls show support for path to citizenship, permanent residency

As immigration laws have toughened in South Carolina and many other states, it can feel like society in general has more hostility toward undocumented immigrants. However, a new national poll has indicated that a majority of Americans are actually in favor of offering undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

This week, a survey released by the Politico/George Washington University Battleground indicated that 62 percent of registered voters say they support immigration reform that would allow illegal or undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship over a period of several years. Thirty-five percent opposed.

Similarly, right after the November election, an ABC News/Washington Post survey showed that 57 percent of registered voters supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, while just 39 percent did not.

A September poll by CNN/ORC also showed that a majority of Americans appeared to support undocumented immigrants, with 56 percent saying the main focus of United States immigration policy should be allowing undocumented immigrants to become legal residents. Less than 40 percent said deportation should be the primary focus.

That appears to document a shift in attitudes on the matter. Last year, only a minority of Americans said the primary focus of U.S. immigration policy should be on allowing undocumented immigrants to become legal residents.

The recent Politico/George Washington University poll indicated that 74 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents support giving undocumented immigrants eventual citizenship. Forty-nine percent of Republicans polled support the same.

It is anticipated that immigration reform could become a primary objective for the Obama Administration next month, once the "fiscal cliff" negotiations have come to an end.

Source: CNN, "Poll: Majority back path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants," Dec. 10, 2012

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