Much To Fox News’ Chagrin, Majority Of Republican Voters Support Immigration Reform

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A poll released Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that a large majority of Americans support a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the United States illegally. Amazingly, 51% of Republican voters are in favor of citizenship for illegal immigrants, while another 17% support them receiving permanent legal resident status. Democrats (70%) and independents (61%) show greater support for citizenship. Overall, 62% of Americans are in favor of providing undocumented residents of this country a way to become legal citizens.

What is extremely interesting about this survey is that PRRI really drilled down into the details to find the key factors and demographics surrounding support of immigration reform. The ultimate findings are not all that surprising. However, it is refreshing  in that it reinforced the preconceived ideas on who most opposes immigration reform and the possible reasons behind the opposition. What PRRI found is that if a person trusts Fox News, is a Tea Party member or a white evangelical Protestant, then support for a pathway to citizenship is lower than that of other Republicans, and definitely below that of the average American voter.

Only 42% of Republicans who trust Fox News as their primary news source believe that immigrants here illegally should be provided an opportunity to become American citizens. Meanwhile, 60% of Republicans who get their news from other sources support immigration reform that leads to citizenship for undocumented workers. As for independents that trust Fox News, only 48% of them support citizenship while 66% of those who trust other sources of news media more are in favor of giving these people an opportunity to be Americans. As a point of comparison, 71% of Americans who most trust public television are in favor of immigration reform.

When looking at different Christian groups, the survey found that white evangelical Protestants were the only group where the majority of people did not support a path to citizenship, with 48% stating they were in favor of it. Meanwhile, 58% of white mainline Protestants, 62% of minority Protestants, 63% of Catholics and 57% of white Catholics all support giving illegal immigrants an opportunity to become citizens. 68% of unaffiliated Americans support true immigration reform. Tea Party members are the ones most likely to oppose a path to citizenship and support full deportation of people here illegally. Only 37% support a path to citizenship, with another 23% in favor of green cards. Meanwhile, 37% said they would prefer that all people in this country illegally be deported.

PRRI wrote the following when discussing the greatest independent predictors for support and opposition to immigration reform:


  • The two most powerful independent predictors of support for a path to citizenship are being young (under 30 years of age) and identifying as Hispanic. Holding a four-year college degree, being female, identifying with the Democratic Party, and most trusting MSNBC as an accurate news source are also significant predictors of support for immigration reform.
  • In contrast, trust in Fox News as an accurate news source is the most powerful independent predictor of opposition to a path to citizenship. Identifying as Republican and being a born-again Christian are also significant predictors of opposition to immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.


While Fox News, and other conservative media outlets, might be hammering the idea that immigration reform will lead to the destruction of the fabric of this nation, it appears that the message isn’t taking hold. Sure, Tea Partiers and loyal Fox News watchers appear to be taking to the message, but not in the overwhelming numbers that you’d figure. At the same end, the majority of Republican voters are in favor of giving people here illegally a chance to become American citizens. As is always the case, Fox News is on the wrong side of history.

5 Replies to “Much To Fox News’ Chagrin, Majority Of Republican Voters Support Immigration Reform”

  1. In a just my opinion survey, 99% of Faux News viewers are idiots. Margin of error + or – 1%. They just don’t want minorities to have citizenship because they know that will increase the Democratic vote.

    As someone who lives within 40 miles of the border in southern New Mexico I have worked with people who are here illegally. Had neighbors who I knew were here illegally. Had business dealings with them. Would I turn them in? No, not unless they were criminals of some fashion.

    These people walk through the desert with little or no food and water for days for an opportunity. They will work sun up till sun down, and work hard. I have much respect for anyone who wants to give their family a better life.

    Show me one of those republican suits that would go to such extreme lengths to get a job and provide for their loved ones. They won’t get off the couch to get the remote. They forget we are all immigrants except the American Indian, and I don’t see to many of them in congress.

  2. Except that progressives SHOULD be against the Gang of Eight bill, for all the reasons Bernie Saunders said before he caved to the political pressure. Have you seen the studies on what illegal immigration has already done to the African-American underclass? The deal that most Americans want is to be realistic with the illegal immigrants here but have some sort of system in place to prevent a repeat of 1986 before legal status is granted. In 2006 when this same reform was put forth liberals like Paul Krugmann and Thom Hartman opposed it because of what it does to the poor – is there any other issues where progressives so embrace the US Chamber and the Koch Brothers?

  3. No, we’re not all immigrants except for Native Americans – at least not in the sense you say. African-Americans are the group research repeatedly shows is the most affected by illegal immigration. The ladder jobs that poor African-Americans used to get out of poverty are gone – nanny/food service/janitor – these used to be cliches. The result: 40% young African-American unemployment. You have to willfully ignore the research on what illegal immigration has done to the poor (it’s been a modest benefit to the middle class and a great benefit to the 1%) to support the current “legal status first” proposals before Congress.

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