December 10th, 2010
12:48 PM ET
12 years ago

Poll: 54 percent support DREAM Act

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans support a measure that would give legal status to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children if they join the military or go to college, according to a new national survey.

But a Gallup poll released Friday also indicates wide partisan and generational divides over the issue.
Fifty-four percent of people questioned in the survey say they would vote for the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for thousands of young adults currently living in the country illegally, with 42 percent saying they would vote against the bill and four percent unsure.

The legislation, formally named the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, would have affected immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children under the age of 16 and have lived in the country for at least five years. Other requirements include graduating from high-school or obtaining a General Education Development diploma and demonstrating "good moral character."

Even then, only a six-year conditional status would be awarded. Before moving to the next phase, the students would need to meet additionalrequirements - attending college or serving in the military for at least two years, and passing criminal background checks.

Proponents, including President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders, say the bill offers legal standing to young people brought to the United States who have bettered themselves and served their new country, while opponents claim it is a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants.

According to the poll, two-thirds of Democrats say they'd vote for the measure, but that number drops to 57 percent for independent voters and 34 percent for Republicans. Two-thirds of people age 18-34 say they favor the bill, but support drops to 53 percent among those age 35-49, 50 percent among those age 50-64, and down to 43 percent among those age 65 and older.

The survey also indicates non-Hispanic whites divided on the issue, with nearly seven in ten non-whites supportive of the DREAM act.

The Gallup poll was conducted December 3-6, with 1,003 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

- CNN's Ted Barrett and Craig Broffman contributed to this report


Filed under: Congress • Polls
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    Who cares CNN??!! Stop pushing these irrelevant polls here! IT ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN!! If you want to take a poll, how about asking "Do you want to maintain open borders that allow millions of illegal aliens into our country?" or maybe "Do you want grant amnesty to all illegal aliens in the USA?"

    Of course you will not take THOSE polls because you will not like the answers you get!

    December 10, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. LIP

    These people are innocent victims and as a moderate Republican, can live with this bill and hope that it passes as long as there aren't any provisions that allow them free college education over all of us that pay into the system and don't have this privalege.

    December 10, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Angry about amnesty

    NO, NO, NO on the Dream Act. The bill grants admission to all but the most serious convicted CRIMINALS or repeat offenders.

    As taken directly from H.R.5281, the bill only requires that an alien:

    (iv) has not been convicted of—
    (I) any offense under Federal or State law punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of more than 1 year; or
    (II) 3 or more offenses under Federal or State law, for which the alien was convicted on different dates for each of the 3 offenses and sentenced to imprisonment for an aggregate of 90 days or more;

    Democrats have written this amendment to H.R.5281 to admit as many illegal aliens as possible – up to 30 million, which is 10% of our population and 30% of Mexico.

    The Dream Act will significantly drive up unemployment and significantly drive down wages for American citizens.

    The Dream Act does not create a single new job and will not generate new tax revenues. Jobs taken by illegal aliens given green cards will increase the number of unemployed American citizens. Since citizens are eligible for taxpayer benefits, government costs will increase.

    December 10, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Chet Bacon

    Not in its present form – no way! All this is is a way to garner votes.
    No problem for those who join the military and EARN their citizenship – otherwise go back to where you came from and apply for legal immigration.

    December 10, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    I am not found of visiting the sins of the parents onto the children. That these children consider America their home and have an allegiance to America should be of paramount concern. Joining the Military is a good first step. Gainful employment should also be considered. Simply getting ones GED, however, not so much.

    December 10, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Mad man

    Survey conducted in Arizona, Las Angles and New Mexico...EVERY American that I have spoken to regarding the illegal problem is of the same mind set. Make them ALL pay a fine for being here of significant amount commensurate to the cost they are to the tax payer, THEN if they pay their own way through a four year college or do a full term in a combat area deployment in the military offer them the quick citizenship route. Otherwise, you will have a bunch of illegals go to the local community college, sign up for our educational entitlements and walk in the door to legality. Where is the ACLU libtard lawyers protecting the rights of the AMERICAN TAX PAYING CITIZEN, these illegals are stealing our tax dollar funding for our own children's futures as well as OUR social service entitlement programs like social security, medicare and medicaid? Sounds like a class action lawsuit against the Federal Government to me...and you wonder why healthcare premiums went up, 12 to 20 million reasons why.

    December 10, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. tamade

    54% is a slight majority..... the DREAM act is nothing but a small change in our Immigration policy. It is obvious that our Immigration system is not working today. Instead of finding common grounds in fully fixing our Immigration system, our politicians go about their way bickering over political advantages at the expense of our nation. Thank you both Democrats and Republicans for wasting our time.

    December 10, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  8. XWngLady

    My understanding of "Amnesty" is that its given to someone who is guilty. How is a child who was brought here by no fault of their own "guilty"? ....Its not amnesty. Its a good and economically prudent idea...PASS THE THING ALREADY!

    December 10, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. GreersFerry

    Obama has the perfect reelection strategy. Add 12 million illegals to the voting rolls to the 48% who don't have to pay any income taxes and how can you be beat?

    December 10, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. yeahright

    75% of all statistics are BS....this definitely falls into that description. Anyone that believes that poll is beyond gullible.

    December 10, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. thor

    I bet most people that were asked that question don't even know the wording of the legislation or what's in the bill.

    December 10, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. Catie

    54% ? Bull

    December 10, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. Gil

    After all the lies and brainwashing from FOX I'm amazed there are still some intelligent Americans who can read through it and show some thnik for yourself opinions!

    December 10, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. Teresa

    This is not a scientific poll, it is propaganda. Of my network of friends who have said they have researched the Dream Act, over 90% are firmly against it because it violates not onlyour Constitution (Art 4, Sec 4) but also our laws on national security and treason. The Dream Act is nothing more than comprehensive amnesty for 85% of all illegal aliens and is being sold as if only for children. More propaganda for a criminal law. I think we should arrest any member of Congress who votes in support of it based on our current laws of "aiding and abetting" foreign enemies.

    December 10, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Francis

    The major problem that once immigrants–either legal or of illegal status over how many years, they could bring in a whole spectrum of family. Chain migration has silently snowballed from the 1986 Immigration bill. Since that law was passed the Congress has quietly passed six amnesties, without any explanation, while at the same time admitting over a million new legal immigrants a year through a lottery of specific working visas. The Dream Act if passed is just another stealth type back door amnesty. Hopefully in our future—the TEA PARTY—will put an end to this serious pretense of each administration supposedly working for the populace. Don't give any Senator or Representative breathing room, and should get a cordial call the Washington Switchboard 202-224-3121 Until the Dream Act is amended–it must not be voted on–as is.

    It should be remembered for every legal or illegal immigrant who settles here, brings many more immediate family groups. Every year millions come to America who already has a legal or illegal family component, who offers either a safe haven or an affidavit of support; who they sponsor. When an illegal alien is caught along the border, the US agents ask that individual where are they are going. The majority answer I have a brother, or uncle in Denver, Salt Lake City or other major hub, who has a job for me. This is almost a perpetual loop of the same story over and over again. Alas, there is not enough room to explain what is happening around America in regards to this issue. It has become paramount quandary in so many ways and is just as urgent as the Start treaty, the tax conundrum, "Don't ask, Don't tell" and other issues. In fact the illegal immigration problem has got so out of hand; because of astronomical costs it’s threatening the livelihood of every American. IT’S A FINANCIAL catastrophe, which has grown out of control. The illegal immigration problem has been caused by years of neglect and now the only way the federal authorities can tamper down the burning fuse, is some kind of mass amnesty. Why should US citizens have to compete with foreign nationals? Why should legal construction workers or a laborer in any other job, have to compete with Contractors who hire foreign workers? When is this injustice to the American population going to end?

    Remember that–CHAIN MIGRATION–puts the United States in serious peril, even more so than the original sponsors. Learn much more about the OVERPOPULATION and its risks to the environment, infrastructure and quality of life at NumbersUSA The Dream Act in itself not a menace, although at least a 800.000 students would be eligible if they abide by the law? The only immigration law that should be demanded is to make illegal entrance into the United States a felony, with no excuses and no exceptions. This includes businesses that are twice caught hiring illegal workers, should be subject to a harsh fine, confiscation of business assets and after the second conviction—prison! It's blatantly obvious to me, that for years Washington has deceived the American people of both political parties. There has been no intention of enforcing immigration laws and this is proven without doubt. If illegal immigration had severe consequences, such as the above penalties the only enforcement program needed would be E-Verify mandated for every business owner. The majority of other restriction tools needed to halt the free flow of desperate, destitute people would radically decline; knowing that you would be convicted of a class “A” felony would collapse the ongoing flow.
    This would be huge disincentive to economic foreign nationals crossing our borders, or using the excuse of being a tourist, fully aware they are not leaving once their visa runs out. No! There has been no true intention of halting illegal aliens coming here for work, or to commit crimes. Both Democrats and Republicans have remained impassive to the invasion, whether its 13 million or 20 million foreigners who have skirted our laws; of course that's according which side of the Washington pecking order you are inclined to believe? Over thirty years of government neglect has brought this nightmare upon us, of incessant crimes against lawful citizens and permanent residents. Americans land owners living in constant fear along the 2000 miles of mostly unprotected border. Both political parties irrationally forget who pays their salaries and pensions while American find their wages sinking and the majority of Social programs of having to share these entitlements with illegal labor and their families.

    Around the country, we have activist judges who ignore the US constitution and instead construe the law according to personal political orientation. Even now Arizona is under bombardment from open border radicals, or pro business entities, who do not want this Border States policing laws to be upheld. Then again the IRS is complicit in allowing illegal aliens to squat here, by issuing ITIN numbers, as foreigners cannot possess a real Social Security card. Over the last ten years we have seen an escalation in ID theft, with the courts saying this is not classed as a felony. Another concealed point is that illegal alien workers are collecting billions of dollars in income tax refunds, for children who don't exist or filing for the same child twice by each parent. For those people who believe that this is an embellishment, one only has to Google key words–illegal alien costs; illegal alien income tax refunds.

    There are highly regarded reports on the expenditures of federal, state and county support of foreign nationals that you as the taxpayer is erroneously paying. Sanctuary States like California under Liberal progressive control in Sacramento is depleting the state of billions of dollars, as they subsidize the millions in just Los Angeles County alone? The schools are in turmoil from overcrowding of children of illegal families, who by mandated law must be educated. In understaffed county hospitals have become places of last resort, for the multitudes of foreign nationals who live below the poverty line, so they are dependent on taxpayers. California has become an incubator for hundreds of thousands of illegal pregnant females, who collect under their new citizens-babies, namely billions of more dollars soaked from you and me.
    Their children are a valuable commodity, because our 14th amendment law has been with intent compromised, so that children of illegal aliens are issued food stamps, low income housing and a large profusion of cash payment and other freebies. All these entitlements should not be going to people who should not be here? These illegal women are already aware that once the stand on our soil, that the US taxpayer will support them and all their children. Until we halt the illegal immigration occupation of this country, we a steadily heading for a irrevocable overpopulation. The only way anything will ever get accomplished is by Americans pressing incessantly their Senator or Congressman. As the Tea Party grows this organization has a commitment to the people—because they are THE PEOPLE. They owe no favors to left wing Unions, big corporations or the open border zealots. They are the TEA PARTY. They are AMERICA.

    December 10, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    The Dream Act is an assault on the US, as an independent country. passing it, will open the floodgates of illegals from Mexico to Chile, and will turn this country entirely Hispanic.

    December 10, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. T'sah from Virginia

    We are messing with people lives – regardless as to how they got here. A child cannot go against a parent who comes here illegally!! If that child is a model student – and even if NOT a model student – should be able to STAY HERE. They are NOT criminals and it's a shame that this is such a BIG NEGATIVE ISSUE!!!!

    People will say – FIX THE BORDER FIRST!!! That will NEVER happen because if that was the ONLY issue – it would NOT be an issue, it will be DONE!!!

    SOME ["...say the bill offers legal standing to young people brought to the United States who have bettered themselves and served their new country, while opponents claim it is a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants..."] BOTH is true so there is NO ARGUMENT – where's the justification as to why it SHOULD NOT BE DONE!!! Come on people – I know the BLOCKERS did not just wake up this morning and took two STUPID PILLS!!!

    December 10, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Whammybar

    No, just plain no! They and or their parents broke the law and now you want to do them a favor. Who is going o pay for the college? The taxpayers? Is the colege student in California still here after he was all over the news as being illegal for years? Why hasn't the government arrested and deported him? Why? Most of us can't get away with parking illegally and these people are here taking advantage of what my taxes provide illegally. Now amnesty! No Just plain no!

    December 10, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. GOP = Greed Over People

    The majority of Americans are for the Dream Act yet the racists republiKKKans in the Senate again "refudiate" the will of the people!

    December 10, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. MsMoss

    CNN often has polls that clearly support the left agenda. These polls have no credibility and are used to garner support for unpopular issues – first Obamacare, now the Nightmare act.

    December 10, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Devlin

    Maybe this poll will give some consolation to the Dreamers when it fails to pass.

    Polls are rarely used as a reason for passing bills, for the following reasons:

    1. The result depends on how the question is asked.

    2. People being polled are often afraid to give an honest response.

    3. People can be fooled. In this case, the ideal of the Dream Act is far more benign than the reality. Weak eligibility requirements, the potential for fraud, and the magnet for more illegal immigration are some of the obvious flaws in the bill.

    4. We just had an election, and this lame duck Congress has no mandate for passing such a a bill.

    December 10, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Mr. Moderate

    Let's see....the Republicans were all over Obama for "ignoring the will of the American people" and "shoving health care down their throats", when polls indicated opposition to the Health Care Recorm after months of shouting and distoritions on the right. Now we have these same people opposing the American Dream Act, Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal and the reinstitution of the additional 3% tax on income above $250,000 (suddenly the debt did not matter anymore) when polls show the majority of Americans are in favor of these policies. Hey Republican party – STOP IGNORING THE WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!

    December 10, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. Bob Huber

    I took my own, unscientific poll this weekend. I asked everyone I knew if they supported this bill and they all said "No" they do not. Not sure CNN is polling. Hispanics only?

    December 10, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Bloom

    54% are in favor of rewarding illegal behavior. Most Americans could agree on Military service but sending illegal aliens to college on our dime without any service – forget it.

    December 10, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. gene

    Total BS. Maybe 54% of mexicans but if you'd bother to actually do a fair poll it would be nowhere near that. Those who say the are protecting the middle class with the tax bill turn around and screw the middle class with the dream act. Anyone who lives around illegals, like a sanctuary city such as Denver would never support this bill.

    December 10, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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