According to a new Pew Research survey, 71% of Americans believe illegal immigrants already in the United States should be allowed to stay.
Of those polled, 43% think illegal immigrants should be allowed to apply for citizenship, while 24% feel they should at least be allowed to apply for legal residency. Only 27% want immigrants here illegally to leave.
Americans are generally respectful of illegal immigrants’ attitudes: 49% of those polled say they strengthen the country with their work ethic and skills, while 41% are more skeptical, feeling they take jobs, health care, and housing.
An interesting sidenote to the poll’s findings was that the percentage of American who felt that illegal immigrants were a threat to take their jobs and health care was very high in 1994 (63%), then dipped to 38% in 2000. Post-9/11, the number grew again to 44% in 2004 and 52% in 2006. As the memory of 9/11 faded, the number of people hostile to illegal immigrants dipped again.