Poll: Americans say immigration strengthens our society

85% of Unitarians support a pathway to citizenship.
85% of Unitarians support a pathway to citizenship.

A new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that 50% of Americans believe that immigration strengthens American society, while only 34% say the opposite.

The view that immigrants add strength is particularly strong among young Americans. 68% of those between 18 and 19 years of age say immigrants add strength. This result may mean that as Millennials form a larger part of the electorate, support for meaningful immigration reform will rise.

The survey provides breakouts of views on immigration by political affiliation, race and religion. The only groups that saw immigrants as a threat were white Evangelicals and people who identified themselves as Republicans.

The most strongly supportive regions for immigrants are in the Northeast and on the West Coast. New York, where 58% saw immigration positively, ranked third among the states, right after Massachusetts and Hawaii. Conversely, the states with the highest percentage of people saying immigration was a threat to American society were Wyoming (48%), Alabama (47%), and West Virginia (47%).

For all the talk about deportation as a solution to the issue of undocumented immigration, only 19% of Americans say they want to deport all undocumented. 62% say that the undocumented should be placed on a pathway to citizenship. Another 15% say they should be allowed to become legal residents but not citizens. Support for the pathway to citizenship is particularly strong among African Americans, with 69% supporting citizenship. This lays to rest the right-wing media trope that blacks are opposed to immigrants. 60% of whites also support the pathway to citizenship for the undocumented.

All demographic groups support a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented. Even Republicans (51%) and white Evangelicals (54%) said they favored citizenship. Fewer than a third of the members of these two groups favored mass deportations.

The religious group most in favor of the pathway to citizenship? Unitarians with 85% supporting.

For more about the survey please see HERE.