Half of Republicans agree that undocumented migrants should be given legal residence permits, according to a survey made public as a high-profile GOP gathering is under way on the matter.

The result is in line with data from three surveys by the Pew Research Center conducted between March and June 2013, where at least six of every 10 Republicans and 71 percent of all respondents said they approved of legalizing the status of undocumented immigrants.

The CBS News poll made public last week shows that about two-thirds of Americans are in favor of giving legal status to the 11.7 million undocumented foreigners living here.

While 54 percent support a path to citizenship, 12 percent say the undocumented should only receive residence permits.

The Republican Party is holding a conference in Maryland to craft a common stance on the subject of illegal immigration.

Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor, leader of the GOP majority in the House of Representatives, said that although some agreement exists between Republicans and Democrats on some central aspects of the immigration system, their differences on other matters seem difficult to reconcile.

Cantor is the person in charge of preparing the preliminary text of Republican principles on immigration reform along with House Speaker John Boehner and Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The Senate in June 2013 approved a bipartisan bill that includes strengthening security along the border with Mexico and a path to citizenship for foreigners who are living in the country illegally.

But the Republican-controlled House has opposed analyzing the document in its entirety and prefers to focus on individual parts of it. EFE