President Obama came a step closer to the wishes of the American people when he announced earlier today that his administration will stop deporting undocumented immigrants 30 years old or younger, who came to the U.S. as children. Those immigrants who qualify will also be allowed to apply for a work permit and thus, contribute to society more fully.
Majority of Americans have consistently supported these type of approach and generally more widespread and permanent policies, such as permanent legal status or a path to citizenship for immigrants who came here as children (often synonymous with the DREAM Act). Nearly 6-in-10 (57%) of Americans are in favor of "allowing illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college" (Brookings/PRRI, Sep 2011). Most segments of the U.S. population support this policy, with strongest support coming from Latinos ((91%, Pew Research, Dec 2011), Democrats (70%), and Millennials (69%).
Most independents (56%), the religiously unaffiliated (65%), Black Protestants (64%), Catholics (58%), and white mainline Protestants (54%) also are in favor of allowing immigrants without papers who were brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal resident status (Brookings/PRRI).
Support or oppose "allowing illegal immigrants brought to the U.S.
as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college?" Brookings/PRRI, Sep 2011
Opposition to this approach comes, not surprisingly from Republicans (55%) and white evangelical Protestants (52%). Opposition among the general population is at 40 percent (Brookings/PRRI).
With respect to all undocumented immigrants generally in the U.S.—not just those who came here as children—most Americans call for a path to citizenship for them, 68%, (Pew Research June 2010). The percentage reported in 2007 was 63% (Pew Research 2007), which indicates that support for this approach might be increasing.
Americans think our immigration policies and system are broken (57%, Brookings/PRRI) and are hungry for commonsense solutions. Characteristically, most people prefer a comprehensive immigration policy reform (63%) over a law enforcement only approach (36%, America's Voice).
It's good that the President took on Friday a first step toward immigation solutions that Americans want and that are good for the country.