I missed this finding in the most recent ABC/Washington Post poll, but found it in Ruy Teixeira’s latest public opinion snapshot complete with one of the CAP art team’s excellent charts:
That’s interesting. Conventional wisdom has had it that the recession should make public opinion more hostile to immigrants, but things seem to have moved in the opposite direction. And indeed things should move in a more pro-immigrant, pro-immigration direction since the evidence is pretty overwhelming that openness to immigration boosts economic growth. Then when you think about the use of your marginal federal dollar, consider the possible long-term benefits of investing in better infrastructure or better schools or treating a sick person versus using it on harassing a bunch of people in hopes of inspiring some of them to move back to Mexico.
At any rate, there’s a pretty obvious political upside to providing a path to citizenship for folks living here illegally, so this is something progressive politicians would do well to run some political risks for even if other polling comes in more mixed.