March 2, 2017
3/2: Most Americans Support Pathway to Citizenship, Issue of Sanctuary Cities More Divided
Eight in ten Americans, 80%, favor providing a way for undocumented immigrants to gain legal U.S. citizenship if they meet certain criteria. And, there is bipartisan support for such action. Democrats, 87%, and independents, 83%, overwhelmingly support a pathway to citizenship, and even 69% of Republicans favor such a move if undocumented immigrants learn English, pay fines, and have jobs that pay taxes. Also of note, 72% of those who supported President Donald Trump in the election support a pathway to legal citizenship.
However, less consensus exists on the question of sanctuary cities. Half of Americans, 50%, think sanctuary cities are needed to provide services to undocumented immigrants while 41% say undocumented immigrants should be deported, and therefore, there is no need for sanctuary cities. 10% of Americans are unsure. On the question of cutting federal funds to cities that provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, 53% of U.S. residents oppose such a measure, 42% support eliminating federal monies, and 5% are unsure.
Here, partisan politics are in play. More than seven in ten Democrats and a majority of independents support the existence of sanctuary cities and oppose cutting funds to cities who act as such sanctuaries. However, about three in four Republicans do not see a need for sanctuary cities and support cutting federal funds to cities who provide sanctuary. Americans who supported Donald Trump in the election, conservatives, and Tea Party supporters are also among those who are most opposed to sanctuary cities and providing federal funds to cities who act as sanctuaries.
Racial differences also exist. Latinos, 68%, are among those most likely to favor sanctuary cities, and nearly six in ten African Americans, 59%, share this view. Whites divide with 45% saying sanctuary cities should exist and 44% reporting undocumented immigrants should be deported and do not see a need for sanctuary cities. However, more than half of whites, 51%, oppose cutting federal funds to these cities, a position held by 70% of African Americans and 59% of Latinos.