In his second term, many believe President Obama will push for immigration reform since he has public support to do to act. (Getty Images)

Latest polls show public favors immigration reform, path to citizenship

The majority of Americans support the president’s position on immigration reform, according to recently released polls.

A Bloomberg national poll of over 1,000 Americans found that 47 percent of the public approves of Obama‘s handling on immigration, compared to 38 percent who disapprove. Fifteen percent are not sure what they think about the issue.

The poll found 53 percent of Americans support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.  Of these, 35 percent back a path to citizenship “now” for those who don’t have criminal records, pay a fine and back taxes, and learn English.  Eighteen percent would grant them citizenship or legal status depending on measurable improvements in border security, and another 18 percent would give undocumented immigrants legal status without citizenship.

When asked how visas should be distributed to new immigrants, 29 percent of Americans said high-skilled workers such as engineers should get top visa priority, and 24 percent said the priority should be for immigrants who are reuniting with families. Fifteen percent would favor giving visa priority to farm workers, while 14 percent say the priority should go to low-skilled workers, such as construction and hotel employees.

RELATED: Poll: Four out of five Americans favor a path to citizenship

A USA Today/Pew Research Center poll found nearly half (47 percent) of Americans think that increased border security and law enforcement as well as a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is the best way to deal with the nation’s 11 million undocumented.  The percentage of Americans favoring this dual approach has gone up; it was 42 percent in June.

A quarter (25 percent) of Americans, however, favor enforcement only and another quarter say the focus should only be about a pathway to citizenship.

Half (50 percent) of Americans think Obama has a better approach to fix current immigration policy than Congressional Republicans, while 33 percent of those polled favored Congressional Republicans over Obama when it comes to immigration.  This poll found Americans divided over Obama’s handling of immigration policy;  Forty-four percent approve and 43 percent disapprove.

Latinos who were polled however, were much more positive about Obama’s handling of immigration; 63 percent of Hispanics currently approve, up from just 28 percent  in November 2011.  Seventy-three percent of Latinos think the president has a better approach to immigration than Congressional Republicans, while 15 percent of Hispanics favor the latter.  The president’s approval rating among Hispanics is at 73 percent.

While these two polls generally reflect other recent polls on Americans and immigration, an Ipsos/Reuters online poll found a different result – their poll found over half of Americans, 53 percent, believe that most undocumented immigrants should be deported.  In this online poll, only 5 percent believed all undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the United States legally, and 31 percent wanted most to stay.  Online polls, however, have a different, less random sampling, since it is only surveying online users, explains political scientist Sylvia Manzano, of the research and polling firm Latino Decisions.  The majority of national polls are done by phone.

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