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Most Likely Voters Support President's New Immigration Policy

Niouseline St. Jean, originally from Turks and Caicos Islands who lives in the U.S. illegally, reacts as she talks to the media about the new immigration ruling for students at the Miami Dade Community College in Miami last Friday.
J Pat Carter

Sixty-four percent of likely voters surveyed by a new Bloomberg poll said they agreed with President Obama's decision to defer deportation for some young, undocumented immigrants.

The poll also found that 30 percent disagreed and independents backed the new policy by two-to-one margin.

Bloomberg reports:

"The results underscore the challenge facing Mitt Romney and Republicans as they try to woo Hispanic voters, who are the nation's largest ethnic minority and made up 9 percent of the 2008 electorate, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of exit polls. Obama won the Hispanic vote 67 to 31 percent over Republican John McCain in 2008, according to exit polls.

"'In that Republican Party, there is a tolerance problem,' said Carmen Nieves, 27, of Albany, New York, who is of Puerto Rican heritage and participated in the Bloomberg June 15-18 survey.

"'These are things that have to be done, and I'm expecting them to be done,' said Nieves. 'I see a person who is doing his job.'"

CNN reports that those surveyed were also divided along party lines. "Fifty-six percent of likely Republican voters opposed the decision while 86% of Democrats issued praise. Sixty-six percent of independents backed the policy change, while 26% disagreed," reports CNN.

Obama announced the new policy on Friday. Obama said the new policy halts the deportation of those under-30, who were brought to country by their parents and have no criminal history. It's been compared to the so-called DREAM Act, except it's a temporary, two-year solution and doesn't give them a path toward citizenship.

In polls, the DREAM Act had popular support. Back in December of 2010, a Gallup poll found 54 percent of Americans supported giving legal status for "those brought to the U.S. illegally as children if hey attend college or join the military."

A May poll by the National Journal found that just 8 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of Republicans said those young illegal immigrants should be deported.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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