Obama Approval Rating On Immigration Rises: Poll

Americans approve of President Barack Obama's handling of immigration by 49 percent to 43 percent, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Wednesday. That's a notable switch from last July, when people disapproved by 52 percent to 38 percent.

Obama's record on immigration is more important than ever as he pushes for major reforms. Neither side of the political aisle is entirely happy with him: Republicans argue he hasn't enforced current law vigorously enough, and Democrats say he has been overzealous in pursuing a record number of deportations. While many Americans still disapprove of Obama on immigration, support has climbed significantly over the past several months.

The Washington Post/ABC poll also showed support for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who already live in this country. The pollsters found that 55 percent of Americans believe such a pathway should exist, while 41 percent oppose the idea. The possibility of citizenship for undocumented immigrants is a major factor in the current reform debate, and although most surveys have shown support, many members of the Republican Party -- particularly in the House of Representatives -- argue it would lead to more unauthorized immigration.

A bipartisan Senate group dubbed the "gang of eight" unveiled an immigration reform framework last week that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive provisional status to remain in the country, but not to be granted green cards until certain yet-to-be-defined border security metrics were met.

A strong majority of Americans -- 83 percent -- support stricter border enforcement, which Obama also proposed in his plan for immigration reform, according to the Washington Post/ABC poll.

HuffPost and YouGov released a poll last week that found most Americans are supportive of the major elements of the gang of eight's plan, including a pathway to citizenship and increased border enforcement.

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