ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — A new poll from the Siena College Research Institute gives insight into attitudes toward migrants, using federal properties to shelter migrants, work authorizations, and more. The new poll was released on Tuesday.

According to a new Siena poll, 56% of participants support using federal land and buildings as temporary shelters for the current migrants in New York. 59% of participants believe in work authorizations for migrants regardless of legal status. 60% of participants support a comprehensive immigration reform bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Graphic via SCRI

According to SCRI, 11% of the New Yorkers in the survey say they were born in another country. 16% say the first member of their family came to this country before 1840, 31% can trace their family’s arrival to the period of American growth from 1840 through World War I, and another 35% say their family arrived during the Depression, World War II, or through the Reagan years. 10% say they started their American journey from 1990 through the present.

“Over 40% of all New Yorkers believe that immigrants take more than they offer society. About a third believe current migrants are dangerous, perhaps even criminal, only want hand-outs, and are a source of illegal drugs. But in each of these cases more New Yorkers disagree with, rather than hold, these judgments,” said Don Levy, Siena College Research Institute (SCRI’s) Director. “Large majorities of Republicans see immigrants and current migrants as dangerous but Democrats and independents disagree. While a small majority of Republicans say that America no longer needs new immigrants, overwhelming majorities of Democrats and independents say that we do.”

“Despite concerns that some New Yorkers have about the recent influx of migrants, 84% of all New Yorkers agree that most of the current migrants want only to build a better life for themselves and their [families] and 69% agree that America should continue to live by the words written on the Statue of Liberty, ‘Give me your tired, your poor…send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me’,” Levy said. “There’s no doubt, the vast majority of New Yorkers recognize that our country was built by immigrants from virtually every nation around the globe, and assimilating immigrants has made America great. Despite nearly a third saying that America no longer needs new immigrants, well over half and a majority of both Democrats and Republicans say that businesses need new immigrants in order to be successful. And, by 60-36%, New Yorkers do not believe that immigrants take jobs away from Americans that have lived here for years.”

“When it comes to migrants and issues associated with immigration, there is a huge partisan divide. A majority of Republicans oppose a comprehensive immigration bill and a huge majority, 77-19%, call for building ‘The Wall.’ Democrats strongly support, and over half of independents want the legislation, and while two-thirds of Democrats oppose building a wall, independents are evenly divided,” Levy said. “Democrats overwhelmingly support easier work authorizations and the use of federal properties to house recent migrants. Majorites of Republicans oppose
both proposals and while independents oppose using federal properties, 51-41%, they are evenly divided on easier work authorizations.”