Poll: Strong Support Across Political Divides For Undocumented Workers Staying in U.S.

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In 2011, there were about 40 million immigrants in the United States. About 28 percent of that total, 11.1 million people, were in this country illegally.

A new poll from the Pew Research Center indicates that a strong majority of Americans agree that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay but are split on whether they should have a path to citizenship.

A study found that more than 70 percent of Americans say that undocumented immigrants should remain in the U.S. if they meet certain conditions. Out of that group, only 43 percent think they should be given a path to citizenship. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) think they should be given a path to legal residency only. Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed don't think undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. at all.

Though most still support undocumented immigrants remaining in the country, public opinion changes when broken down along ethnic lines. Support for legal citizenship was high among African-Americans and Hispanics. Eight in 10 non-Hispanic blacks (82 percent) and 80 percent of Hispanics say those in the country already should be allowed to stay if they meet certain requirements. That number fell to 67 percent for non-Hispanic whites.

Politically, the support was fairly even among Democrats and Republicans, with 76 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents and 64 percent of Republicans saying illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay.

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