Despite the ongoing debate over immigration reform, most Americans approve of a path to citizenship. Over six in ten Americans think illegal immigrants should be given a visa road map according to a survey released just today by the Brookings Institution and the Public Religion Research Institute
Ted Hesson at ABC News reported that 63% of respondents favor citizenship for illegal immigrants, 21% back deportation, and 14% want legal status for the undocumented without citizenship. Perhaps siding with the latter minority, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) intentionally omitted the word “citizenship” in a speech on immigration reform last Tuesday, admitting afterward that he felt the phrase “path to citizenship” to be too strong.
Elsewhere, obstacles exist: Google Trends shows more Americans are interested in issues of gun control than immigration despite growing support for comprehensive reform. In fact, the same Brookings survey found that immigration ranked sixth out of seven issues in a list of what Americans think should be congressional priorities.
Politico reported similarly that immigration advocates worry “their fight could slip behind a cause that wasn’t even an issue during the election: gun control.” At Behar International Counsel, so do we. It’s clear that while there’s a strong focus on immigration on Capital Hill and general support for the idea from most Americans, there is still far too much debate on what reform should entail, not to mention the lurking chance that immigration will be eclipsed by other issues in 2013.