There seems to be an emerging myth out there that presumes legal immigrants in the US feel some animosity towards illegal immigrants. The myth goes something like this: "I stood in line and followed the law. They should too." Even an article in yesterday's Oregonian added some fodder to this mythical fire:
...among Asians and African circles, in which the vast majority are legal migrants or refugees, opinions diverge: Significant numbers oppose legalization of the undocumented, saying it disrespects people who have entered the United States "the right way."
The phrase "significant numbers" obviously implies that a majority of legal immigrants feel this way, but the reporter of this article failed to provide any kind of background information to this supposed "factual" statement. If the reporter, Angie Chuang, had done her research, she would have discovered that the opposite of her reporting was true.
Recent polls have shown that a majority of legal immigrants in the US support a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 to 12 million undocumented workers. Many feel that the immigration debate directly impacts them since much of the rhetoric has become "anti-immigrant" in nature. One poll (audio), co-sponsored by New American Media found that 76% of legal Latino immigrants support legislation that would provide a path to citizenship, while 62% of European and African immigrants support such legislation and 51% of Asians do.
Another poll (audio) found that a majority of legal immigrants oppose a crack down on illegals, they find the dogmatic rhetoric threatening, they have little animosity towards the undocumented and generally have positive feelings towards them.
My husband, a legal immigrant from India, falls into those majority opinions and like most legals, has great sympathy for them in that they all have fundamental things in common, such as separation from their families and native homes, which is a feeling that runs deep in America's immigrants. Although my husband's views, on their own, are not representative of the legal immigrant community, it doesn't surprise me that these polls demonstrate that his views are in the majority.