Public Still Wants Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The public’s continued support for comprehensive immigration reform is being shunted to the side amid all the fuss about Arizona’s draconian new law allowing police to interrogate suspected illegal immigrants at will and detain them if they can’t produce papers. But it is there, as recent polling attests.

In a recent AP-Gfk poll, for example, the public was asked whether it was a good thing or a bad thing that the Obama administration had not yet passed a comprehensive immigration bill. A plurality of 48 percent pronounced this a bad thing, while just 9 percent thought it a good thing (41 percent thought it was neither).

The public particularly wants to see a path to citizenship made available. Fifty-nine percent in the same poll favored “providing a legal way for illegal immigrants already in the United States to become U.S. citizens” compared to 39 percent who were opposed.

Let’s not let Arizona’s law distract us from comprehensive immigration reform, which is the real solution to the immigration problem. The public still wants the country to move in this direction and policymakers should, too.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.