New Poll Indicates Widespread Support For Immigrants Among Millennials

(Photo courtesy/Department of Homeland Security)

The rising generation of 18-34-year-old Millennials supports the expansion of immigrant rights according to GenForward, an ongoing opinion research project at the University of Chicago. The survey of 1,700 Millennials shows strong support for legalization programs across racial lines.

More than three-quarters of Millennials support a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 84 percent of African Americans surveyed supported permanent status for those who qualify for DACA, as do 79 percent of whites. Interestingly, roughly the same percentages of Millennials support a broader legalization program creating a pathway to citizenship for all law-abiding undocumented immigrants.

Support for building “The Wall” was low among all groups except for whites, 40 percent of whom supported spending tens of billions of dollars on building it.

The one group of Millennials that expressed hostility towards immigrants are Trump voters. According to the report:

As expected given Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, Millennial Trump voters display much more support for restrictive immigration proposals such as requiring that employers verify new hires are living in the U.S. legally (93%), increasing government spending on border security and enforcement (86%), identifying and deporting all immigrants that are living in the U.S. without proper documentation (64%), and building a wall along the length of southern border (75%), than Millennials who did not vote for Trump.”

The survey had a number of questions that delved deeper into Trump-supporting Millennials’ attitudes towards immigrants and who is a “real American.” 56 percent of Trump Millennials said that to be truly American a person had to have been born in the United States. 42 percent said that the person had to be Christian. 19 percent said the person had to be of European heritage. While these views are disturbing, they represent only a small minority of young people.

The full report is available here.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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