49% Support Decision To Stop Deporting Illegal Immigrants Who Came To The U.S. As Children

June 20, 2012, 12:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 6/16/2012) The Obama Administration’s decision that the federal government will stop deporting illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children as long as they have no criminal history and have graduated from high school or served in the military meets with support from nearly half the public at large, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll.

49% say they support this policy change; 39% oppose it. There are, as might be expected, clear party differences on this question. More than six in ten Republicans oppose the policy change; over seven in ten Democrats support it. Slightly over half of Hispanics favor the change, but slightly under a third oppose it.

This decision may have helped the President, at least when it comes to approval of his handling of immigration in general. Last week, just 31% approved of his handling of this issue; this week 41% do.

Democrats and independents increased their approval of the President on this issue by nine points and eleven points respectively. Republican approval rose from 7% to a still very low 14%. Young adults doubled their approval.

There is much more willingness to give legal status to those who came illegally to this country as children if they serve in the military than there is if they attend college. Americans favor giving legal resident status in exchange for military service by 58%-30%, but divide evenly on giving legal status for college attendance.

Majorities in all age groups would give legal status to those who serve in the military, while only those under thirty favor legal status for those in college. Republicans overwhelmingly oppose legal status for undocumented immigrants attending college, but divide almost evenly when it comes to legal status for illegal immigrants who serve in the military. College graduates support legal status in both cases.

The poll, however, shows that while there may have been some softening of opinion in favor of granting legal status to some illegal immigrants, that doesn’t extend to all of them, or to those who help them. Slightly more Americans think those who help an undocumented migrant should be jailed as say they should not. And only 24% agree that if someone has migrated to the U.S., other immediate family members should be allowed to join them here.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association