Majority of Utahns Support Pathway to Legal Status for Undocumented Immigrants

Utahns rather lenient attitudes on illegal immigration continue in a new UtahPolicy poll, with 60 percent saying they’d support providing a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants.

Pollster Dan Jones & Associates also finds that:

  • 64 percent of Utahns support greatly increasing the number of visas for immigrants who have high-tech work skills.
  • 64 percent favor increasing the number of immigrants needed in farm work.
  • And 61 percent support increasing border security, regardless of the cost.

Starting several years ago, Utah began leading the nation in what pro-undocumented immigrant advocates say were reasonable and compassionate immigration measures.

The Utah Compact immigration reform was adopted by a number of citizen and religious groups.

And while the LDS Church didn’t sign on to the compact, church leaders later said it was a good document. And LDS Church leaders adopted their own compassionate immigration stands.

The Utah Legislature passed a number of immigration reform bills, but the main ones have not taken effect because they required some federal action, which has not happened.

Jones did not ask if Utahns would support a path toward citizenship for the roughly 11 undocumented immigrants now living in the United States.

But he did find that 60 percent of Utah adults support a pathway to “legal status,” which falls short of outright citizenship, for undocumented residents; 34 percent oppose such a move; while 7 percent didn’t know.

Other polls have shown that younger Americans – who may personally know minorities and their challenges – favor more lenient immigration laws than do older Americans.

And Jones finds that in his new poll:

  • 67 percent of those 18-24 years old support a pathway to legalization, while only 51 percent of those over 65 years old feel the same way.

Republicans support the legalization pathway, 55-41 percent; Democrats, 80-14 percent; and political independents favor it, 64-32 percent; Jones found.

Utah is an overwhelmingly white/Caucasian state, and while the Hispanic population is growing, it is still much a minority.

Thus, in a 601 sample you don’t get that many folks who self-identified to Jones they are Hispanic.

Still, among those who said they are Hispanic, Jones found that 68 percent favor a pathway to legalization, while 25 percent oppose and 7 percent didn’t know.

Jones found that by a 64-28 percent margin Utahns favor significantly increasing the number of visas for high-tech worker-immigrants. Four percent didn’t know.

Utah hi-tech companies have for years complained they can’t find the skilled workers they need from the current work force.

Republicans favor the idea, 65-32 percent: Democrats favor it, 78-20 percent; and political independents favor it, 73-23 percent.

And by a 64-30 percent margin Utahns favor increasing the number of immigrant farm workers. Five percent didn’t know.

Republicans favor more immigrant farmworkers, 61-36 percent; Democrats support that idea, 75-18 percent, while independents like it, 66-28 percent.

Utahns, however, remain tough on stopping illegal immigration at the nation’s borders.

Now matter how much it costs, 61 percent support increasing border security, 36 percent oppose and 4 percent didn’t know.

Republicans favor the get-tough border security, 73-24 percent.

Democrats OPPOSE such a measure, 63-37 percent.

While independents favor such a get-tough effort, 59-36 percent.

Jones polled 601 adults from June 2 to June 8; the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.