As the immigration debate heads toward a crucial point, the majority of U.S. citizens agree that legal status for undocumented immigrants could help the U.S. economy, Pew research suggests.

Three-quarters of Americans say it would be “better for the economy for undocumented immigrants to gain legal status and become legal workers,” the latest research from the Pew states. Some 83 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of GOP voters share that view.

Three quarters of those surveyed agreed most undocumented immigrants are hard workers who should have the opportunity to stay and improve their lives.

Though the Senate handily passed its “Gang of Eight” comprehensive immigration reform bill by a vote of 68 to 32, lobbyists predict a similar result in the more conservative House of Representatives will be more difficult to come by.

This sentiment ties into the Pew findings which state that 66 percent of Republicans believe granting legal status to undocumented immigrants would take jobs from American citizens, compared to 41 percent of Democrats.

Almost two thirds (64 percent) of those surveyed say granting legal status will encourage more immigrants to come to the U.S. illegally.

When it comes to specific requirements for legal status, 76 percent of Americans are in favor of undocumented immigrants proving they can speak and understand English before gaining legal status.

The analysis is based on telephone interviews conducted over four days in June, among a national sample of 1,512 adults.