Citizenship Proves to Be the Winning Strategy; Will Republicans Embrace It?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Immigration proved a hot topic in last night’s GOP primary debate. Once again, proposals included extreme suggestions for mass deportation, building walls and halting immigration.

But voters tell a different story.

Just last week, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that 63 percent of survey respondents support a way for immigrants without documentation to meet certain requirements and earn citizenship. “Support for a path to citizenship for immigrants currently living in the country illegally has been incredibly stable since early 2013,” PRRI notes.

Last week’s survey showed only 18 percent support for mass deportation, and an even smaller minority — 15 percent — support legalization without citizenship.

“The data are clear: Mass deportation is a losing strategy. In fact, legal status without full American citizenship is a losing strategy,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum Action Fund. “Republicans must consider whether leading with mass deportation gets them the votes they need to secure the presidency.

“Competing for a dwindling slice of the electorate is not a path to victory. Voters — whether they are conservative, independent, millennial or baby boomer — want a constructive approach to immigrants and immigration. They’ll remember what candidates say in the primary.”


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