FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Bridget Jameson
202.419.4372, bjameson@pewresearch.org

On Immigration Policy, Wider Partisan Divide Over Border Fence Than Path to Legal Status
60% of Public Opposes Ending ‘Birthright Citizenship’

As immigration emerges as a key issue in the presidential campaign, there is little common ground between Republicans and Democrats in views of several immigration policy proposals. But partisan disagreements are much more pronounced on some issues than others, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

Overall, the public continues to be divided over building a fence along the entire U.S.-Mexican border: 46% favor erecting a fence, while 48% are opposed, little changed from 2011 and 2007.

A large majority of Republicans (73%) support a border fence, while 23% are opposed. Democrats oppose building a border fence, 66% to 23%. Among independents, 43% favor a border fence, while 52% oppose this idea.

The survey, conducted September 22-27 among 1,502 adults, finds that most Americans (60%) oppose the idea of changing the U.S. Constitution to prohibit children of those who are not legal residents from becoming citizens; 37% favor changing the Constitution to end “birthright citizenship.”

Large majorities of those under 30 (71%) and those ages 30-49 (66%) oppose limiting birthright citizenship. Older age groups are more divided: Among those ages 50-64 as many favor (47%) as oppose (48%) this change to the Constitution. Among those 65 and older, 43% favor changing the constitution, while 52% are opposed.

Republicans and Democrats are far apart on this issue: By 75% to 23%, Democrats oppose changing the Constitution to ban birthright citizenship. Republicans are evenly divided: About half (53%) favor amending the Constitution, while 44% are opposed.

By contrast, the survey finds that large majorities in both parties continue to favor a way for allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. legally, if certain requirements are met. About two-thirds of Republicans (66%) say people in the U.S. illegally should be allowed to stay if they meet certain requirements, while 32% say they should not be allowed to stay legally. By nearly a factor of five-to-one (80% to 17%), Democrats say undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally, provided certain requirements are met.

The full report is for immediate release and available at: http://www.people-press.org/2015/10/08/on-immigration-policy-wider-partisan-divide-over-border-fence-than-path-to-legal-status

For more information or to arrange an interview with Carroll Doherty, director of political research, please contact Bridget Jameson at 202.419.4372 or bjameson@pewresearch.org.