US  Immigration Calif 2006
A U.S. immigration reform rally in Los Angeles. Photo taken in 2006.

A path to citizenship, one of the key components of comprehensive immigration reform, is still favored by a majority of Americans across both party and religious lines, according to a new survey from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute.

The study found that 63 percent of Americans are in favor of legislation that would grant citizenship to the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in America. That’s if these immigrants meet certain requirements.

But while support among the public remains consistent, prospects for reform, especially one that contains the idea of citizenship, are waning in Congress. House Republican leaders have made clear they won’t take up the issue in 2013 because of a lack of time. Hard-right conservatives are absolutely against the idea of a path to citizenship, but some GOP leaders are contemplating an offer of legal status to the undocumented.

Only 14 percent of the public supports immigrants becoming legal residents, but not American citizens. Another 18 percent believes immigrants who enter the country illegally or overstayed their visa should be found and deported.

Here’s how the numbers look across party lines in favor of citizenship:

- Republicans: 60 percent;

- Independents: 57 percent;

- Democrats: 73 percent

Here’s how citizenship support looks across religious lines:

- White evangelical Protestants: 55 percent;

- White mainline Protestants: 60 percent;

- Catholics: 62 percent;

- Minority Protestants: 69 percent;

- Religiously unaffiliated: 64 percent

You can read the rest of the survey and find out about the support across key states.


(Note: Photo by