Media contact: Bridget Johnson, 202-419-4372,

On Immigration Policy, Partisan Differences but Also Some Common Ground
Relatively few express negative views of undocumented immigrants

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 25, 2016) – The public is divided over many aspects of U.S. immigration policy. However, when asked about the priorities for policy toward illegal immigration, a new Pew Research Center survey finds more Americans say better border security and a path to citizenship should be given equal priority than favor either approach individually.

The national survey, conducted August 9-16 among 2,010 adults, also finds that a large majority (76%) says that undocumented immigrants are as hard-working and honest as are U.S. citizens, while 67% say they are no more likely than citizens to commit serious crimes. The survey also finds continued public opposition to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border: 61% oppose this proposal, which is little changed from earlier this year.

Overall, 29% of the public prioritizes “creating a way for immigrants already here illegally to become citizens if they meet certain requirements,” while 24% say the focus should be on “better border security and stronger enforcement of immigration laws.” However, when given the option, a 45% plurality says that both should be given equal priority.

Voters who support Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton differ substantially over immigration policy. Trump supporters overwhelmingly favor building a wall along the US.-Mexican border; 79% support this proposal, while just 18% are opposed. Clinton backers oppose a wall by nearly nine-to-one (88% to 10%).

Trump supporters also are more critical of undocumented immigrants than are Clinton backers. However, just 35% of Trump supporters say undocumented immigrants fill jobs U.S. citizens would like to have, and 33% say they are not as hardworking and honest as citizens.

But half of all Trump supporters say undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. are more likely than American citizens to commit serious crimes – and this figure rises to 59% of those who support Trump strongly. Among Clinton supporters, just 13% say undocumented immigrants are more likely to commit serious crimes and there are no significant differences based on strength of support.

Read the report:

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Bridget Johnson at or 202-419-4372.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. Subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters or follow us on our Fact Tank blog.