Friday, February 22, 2013
A new Field Poll found that there is now nearly universal support among California voters to allow undocumented immigrants who have lived here for a number of years to stay and become citizens if they have a job, learn English, and pay back taxes. Statewide, 90% of voters now favor this policy.
In addition, in a reversal from previous measures, a 52% to 43% majority favors allowing undocumented residents to obtain California drivers’ licenses. In two previous Field Polls dating back to 2005, majorities opposed this idea.
Greater than seven in ten also support significantly increasing the number of visas granted to immigrants who are engineers or hold other advanced degrees, creating temporary worker programs for current and future undocumented workers, and allowing undocumented students to pay the same in-state tuition fees at the state's public universities as other residents.
At the same time, voters are disinclined to relax some of the policies in place aimed at restricting the flow of undocumented immigrants into this country. There continues to be strong majority support for increasing the number of federal border agents patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as for imposing stiff penalties on employers and individuals who hire undocumented immigrants.