Poll Shows US Less Divided on Immigration Than Congress

(CN) — With the federal government partially shut down due to bickering over immigration policies, a new Pew Research Center poll shows that 74 percent of Americans favor granting permanent legal status to Dreamers, who were brought to the United States as children, and 60 percent oppose the Trump administration’s plan to “substantially expand the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.”

The telephone poll of 1,503 adults was taken from Jan. 10 to 15 and the results were released Friday. Pew said it had a 95 percent confidence level in the results, but did not release a margin of error.

Not surprisingly, results varied widely between Democrats and Republicans. Ninety-two percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favored granting permanent residency to people who were brought to the United States as children.

Fifty percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents favor it, and 40 percent oppose it, according to the Pew report.

The poll questions did not specifically address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, or DACA program, Pew senior researcher Alec Tyson said.

Nearly 700,000 young people are protected by DACA status, which the Trump administration tried to terminate in September last year. A federal judge in California, however, reinstated the enrollment process this month.

The average age of a Dreamer is 24, Pew reported in a separate study.

“Especially to people who were brought over here as children, this is the only country they remember. They feel this is their home,” said Judy Phillips, a Justice Department-accredited representative who helps immigrants in Colorado work through the citizenship process. “I will tell you, most of the people I work with have never been back to their parent’s country.”

The federal government partially shut down over the weekend due to Congress’s inability to pass a spending bill, even a temporary one. Democrats demand resolution, a promise, or a plan to protect the 700,000 Dreamers, and their children, from deportation. Republicans have refused.

“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands,” the Trump administration said in a statement attributed to the White House — though DACA recipients actually have lawful status.

Democrats and Republicans polled were even more widely split on extending President Trump’s “big, beautiful border wall.” Seventy-two percent of Democrats polled oppose it, while 85 percent of Republicans favor it.

The poll showed a racial divide that cuts across party lines.

Forty-five percent of white people favor expanding the wall, more than twice the number of black people (22 percent) and Latinos (20 percent).

Age differences also cut across party lines: 70 percent of respondents younger than 50 oppose expanding the wall, while 49 percent of those older than 50 support it, according to the Pew poll.

Education also matters, though not so starkly: Seventy percent of those with a college degree oppose expanding the wall, while 57 percent of those with a high school education or less support it.

Sixty-five percent of white evangelical Protestants support expanding the wall though the same percentage support extending legal protection to Dreamers.

Seventy-five perfect of black Protestants oppose the border wall and 83 percent of black Protestants support extending legal status.

Eighty-three percent of Hispanic Catholics oppose the border wall, compared to 44 percent of white Catholics. Ninety-two percent of Hispanic Catholics support permanent legal status for Dreamers, compared to 71 percent of white Catholics.

“Individuals who have some interaction point with immigrants tend to have different views,” said Jamie Torres, director of Denver’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. “When you interact with immigrants, you make it more human than the media or political rhetoric.”

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