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Despite Negative Views of Immigrants, Majority of Republican Texans Support a Path to Citizenship
Topics: Immigration

Even before the Trump administration, Texas has long felt the impact of immigration policy debates on everything from sanctuary cities to border wall funding. Using data from PRRI’s American Values Atlas, we uncover where Texans of all political stripes stand on immigration issues.

Texans’ perceptions of immigrants nearly match those of the public overall, but attitudes are divided sharply by party. Half (50 percent) of Americans and a majority (52 percent) of Texans say immigrants strengthen American society, while roughly one-third (34 percent) of both Americans and Texans say immigrants threaten traditional American customs and values.

Republicans, however, are more likely to say immigrants represent a threat. A slim majority (52 percent) of Texas Republicans say immigrants are a threat to U.S. culture, while fewer than four in ten (37 percent) say immigrants strengthen society. Majorities of Texas independents (54 percent) and Democrats (64 percent) say immigrants strengthen the country.

Texas residents also nearly mirror Americans overall in their immigration policy preferences: 64 percent of Americans and 63 percent of Texans say the immigration system should allow immigrants currently living in the country illegally to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements.

And majorities of Texans of every major political party—including 71 percent of Democratic Texans, 63 percent of independent Texans, and 58 percent of Republican Texans—support a path to citizenship. Roughly similar numbers of each group say the immigration system should allow immigrants currently living in the country illegally to become permanent legal residents but not citizens, although Republican Texans are the least likely to support this option.

Attitudes on deportation among Texans see the largest divides. At 24 percent, Republicans in Texas are more than three times as likely as their Democratic counterparts to support identification and deportation as a solution for immigrants currently living in the country illegally. Fourteen percent of Texans overall support identification and deportation, roughly equal to the public’s attitudes overall.

For more state-level data, explore the American Values Atlas here: http://ava.prri.org/.