Americans are evenly split over whether illegal immigrants who graduate from high school in their state should be eligible for in-state college tuition: 48% say they should be eligible for the in-state tuition rate, while 46% say they should not.
The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Nov. 9-14 among 2,001 adults finds continuing partisan differences over immigration policy. More than twice as many Republicans as Democrats say the priority for dealing with illegal immigration should only be better border security and stricter law enforcement (47% vs. 22%).
Nearly half of the public (48%) thinks an illegal immigrant who went to high school in their state and is accepted to a public college should be eligible for the in-state tuition rate, while 46% disagree.
About three-quarters of Hispanics (77%) say illegal immigrants should be eligible for in-state tuition, compared with 66% of non-Hispanic blacks and just 40% of non-Hispanic whites .
Most Republicans (63%) say illegal immigrants should not be eligible for in-state college tuition. By contrast, 56% of Democrats say they should be eligible. About half of independents (51%) favor in-state tuition for illegal immigrants while 44% are opposed.
Nonetheless, the public continues to support tough measures to crack down on illegal immigration, but also a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. A plurality (43%) says the priority should be better border security and enforcement, as well as creating a way for illegal immigrants to become citizens if they meet certain requirements. Fewer say the priority should only be better security and stronger enforcement of immigration laws (29%), or only creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the U.S. (24%). These opinions have not changed substantially over the past year.