Three in four Americans would back balanced solution
(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) – As the country reacts to an executive decision on immigration and a Supreme Court decision on the same issue, a newly released Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll finds that many American people would back a long-term immigration solution that allowed undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States, as long as certain conditions were met.
The survey finds that nearly three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) would allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States provided they paid a fine, learned English and had a job that paid taxes. A full 8 in 10 Americans also believe that laws can both protect the country’s borders while respecting immigrants as well.
"There is a consensus among the American people on the issue of immigration,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “The common sense of the American people shows that there is a real, viable, long-term solution to this problem that would transcend partisanship, have the support of the American people, and actually resolve this issue. This survey has potential to recast our national debate if this non-partisan solution is embraced.”
The poll also finds that most Americans have a generally positive view of immigrants. 83 percent of Americans say most immigrants are average people who come to the United States to seek a better life for themselves and their families. Fewer than 2 in 10 (17 percent) believe immigrants immigrate for “easy money” or to pursue a life of crime. Americans also think immigrants have strong family values (80 percent) and work just as hard as Americans (79 percent), but worry that immigrants may strain the healthcare system (76 percent), place a burden on public schools (66 percent) or be discriminated against (63 percent).
Founded in 1882 by the son of Irish immigrants – the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael McGivney – the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization and one of the nation’s most active charitable groups. Last year, the Knights donated more than $158 million and 70 million hours to charitable cause.
For a century, the Knights of Columbus have been committed to helping the United States find a reasonable immigration policy. In the early twentieth century, the Knights were critical of laws which largely prevented Catholic immigration from Europe, while allowing those from predominately Protestant countries to immigrate.
The survey of 1,053 adults residing in the United States was conducted from December 15 – 27, 2011 using an online probability based panel from Knowledge Networks, Inc. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. The poll results are available at www.kofc.org.