TEMPE, AZ - A recent poll conducted by Arizona State University reveals that Arizonans are softening their stance on immigration, according to a Thursday release.
The poll by ASU's Morrison Institute on Public Policy shows 78-percent of Arizonans would support legislation that would allow long-time undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship providing they pay a fine, undergo background checks and meet other criteria.
"There are the border issues like how do you keep people out of our country versus the people who are here," said poll director Dr. David Daughtery. "When you start to break it up, the components, people start to look at it differently and see the complexity."
Daughtery said that it appears as though people do not support the hard-line stances and aggressive immigration policies as much as they seemed to when SB 1070 passed.
The poll shows 66-percent of registered Republicans also would support such legislation.
"Here we have people come into this country illegally and we're going to reward them?" said Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff, known for his tough stance on immigration, said he doubts the findings in the poll, saying he has wide support for enforcing the law.
For ASU student Germann Cardenas, the poll gives him hope. Cardenas was 16 when his family brought him here illegally. Nine years later, he is a grad student.
"It is difficult," he said. "You never know if you are going to be deported and taken away from your family."
Cardenas calls himself a "Dream Act Citizen" because he would meet the criteria should an act of that sort be passed.
He said he believes more and more people are starting to understand the contributions he and others can bring to the community if they are allowed a pathway.