Nearly two-thirds of Americans want to open a path to full citizenship for undocumented immigrants presently residing in the United States, according to an Associated Press poll released today. That's up from 50 percent two and half years ago, when the AP conducted a similar poll. The new numbers come as President Obama hopes to make immigration reform an early second-term priority, and just a day after he implored in his inaugural address to welcome "striving, hopeful immigrants":
Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.
But the surge in support for the new immigration policy didn't come from Obama's base. Rather, it reflects a softening Republican position — one that seems to be rapidly changing in the face of the election results in November and internal discussions led by party members like Marco Rubio. Per the AP:
Much of the increase in support for a path to eventual citizenship has come among Republicans. A majority in the GOP — 53 percent — now favor the change. That's up a striking 22 percentage points from 2010. Seventy-two percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents like the idea, similar to 2010.