America’s Stance on Immigration Reform

A recent survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) reveals that the majority of Americans are not in support of the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. And while the Trump Administration continues to push forth in its efforts to crack down on individuals that reside in the United States illegally, many Trump supporters are filled with regret and outrage as unauthorized community members face expulsion.

Conducted as a portion of PRRI’s 2016 American Values Atlas (AVA) which includes insight from approximately 40,000 interviews that were performed across the nation, the survey demonstrates that very few Americans support the deportation of the nearly 11 million unauthorized immigrants who currently live in the U.S. According to the research, only about 10 percent of young Americans between 18 and 29, and approximately 11 percent of seniors age 65 and older support the identification and deportation of undocumented individuals. In fact, a whopping 64 percent of Americans surveyed support a system which includes a pathway for immigrants to become lawful citizens of the United States.

American’s Views on Immigration Reform

When asked how the immigration system should handle immigrants who currently reside in the U.S. illegally, they reported that the system should:

  • Provide a pathway to citizenship as long as certain requirements are met. The most popular choice for Americans of all races/ethnicities, 64 percent of Whites, 72 percent of Blacks, 65 percent of Hispanics, 58 percent of Asians and Pacific Islanders, and 66 percent of individuals of mixed race believe that immigrants should be given the chance to become citizens.
  • Allow permanent legal residency but not citizenship. About 15 percent of all Americans asked to believe that unauthorized immigrants should be allowed to become permanent legal residents but not American citizens.
  • Identify and deport unauthorized individuals. Only about 6 percent of people surveyed said that unauthorized immigrants currently residing in the United States should be identified and deported.

The President continues to claim that his immigration policies are focused on removing dangerous criminals, but an overwhelming number of immigrants who only broke immigration laws are being swept up. In the first 100 days after President Trump took office, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) deported a shocking 41,318 immigrants who were not authorized to be in the U.S. More than 26 percent of those individuals had no criminal records whatsoever. Many of the people who were deported paid taxes, provided jobs and contributed significantly to their communities.