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. Legal_Immigration

    Your Headline "54% Support Dream Act" is highly and intentionally misleading. But yes, I'm sure most Americans don't want to see innocent children suffer for the misdeeds of their parents.

    However, the problem is: The Dream Act actually WILL reward people for their illegal behavior. How so? will reward ALL THOSE MILLIONS of PARENTS who brought their children here illegally. The bestowal of a path to US citizenship upon a child is probably the BEST reward any poor parent from another country could ever hope for.

    In addition, keep in mind that once these Dream Act “children” have their applications pending, they are immediately granted legal temporary residence. That means that all their MILLIONS of parents, grandparents, siblings and children currently living here illegally with them will ALSO be safe from deportation because we already know that ICE will not even try to deport anyone if it causes hardships or breaks up families.

    Seriously, will ICE make any attempt to deport undocumented family members or primary caregivers of a minor child with a Dream Act application in the works? Of course they won't!

    This means that not only are we granting a stay of removal to 6 million innocent “Dreamers” but we are also granting a “proxy” stay of removal to probably 6 million more of their family members who are also in this country illegally.

    In reality, this Dream Act is a sneaky plan to provide a backdoor stay of removal/legal residency to virtually ALL of the 12 to 30 million people who are currently here illegally.

    And if we pass it, we are sending a loud and clear message to BILLIONS of people worldwide that we have given up trying to remove our vast illegal population, so, if you can just manage to sneak in and stay out of trouble, you and your family will probably be granted your own version of a "dream act" sometime in the future.

    December 10, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    Someone who was brought to this country as a child should not be treated like a criminal. It's the classic "sins of the fathers" situation. The problem, at least for Republicans, is that most of these kids are hispanic or other minority, which means there's a good chance they will grow up to be Democrats. Therefore, the GOP could care less about what's morally right and wrong, and they will vehemently oppose any effort of this sort. Besides, "If Obama proposes, the GOP opposes."

    December 10, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. panola

    If this Nightmare Act is approved there will be 2 million less American kids going to college over the next several years because the democrats want to give those slots to illegal aliens.

    However we American citizens do get one thing out of it... the bill. Yup the democrats want the American taxpayer to subsidize their education while cheating our American kids.

    The Nightmare Act has no cap, no end-date and no enforcement. It's simply a "mass ongoing amnesty". In the future any foreign family with a school age child can sneak in the country and enroll their child in school to obtain automatic citizenship.

    Why do democrats hate American kids so much???

    December 10, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Don

    Didn't you hear the Republicans? Nothing passes until the rich get their tax cut.

    December 10, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Take America Back from the Libs

    The Poll question is asked in a manner which is intended to "play on emotions/compassion" it does not expose the whole story; ask the question and include all that is really in the bill and only Liberals will vote for it, and the percentage will drop 20% – 40% in support of.
    However CNN, along with all other Liberal Media, continues to slant everything toward the Liberal view. That is exactly why your viewer share has dropped to half of what it once was and Fox has soared! Keep it up and your numbers will continue to slide. Against popular view.......the American public is NOT as dumb as you on the far left think they are!
    Ask your poll question this way; Do you support giving full amnesty to illegals while circumventing the laws we now have, and ignoring all those who have legally and patiently gone through the system? Understand also this will add $billions$ to our debt and possibly take away from our legal citizens?
    Now.....that's the way to ask it!

    December 10, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. ?


    December 10, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Publius13

    The will of the majority of Americans is entirely immaterial. We are now governed by whatever 41 Senators want to do (or not do).

    December 10, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Jill American

    These children grow up living their parents American Dream. They are brought up as Americans, schooled as Americans and , in some cases, they die defending America (as did the FIRST American casuality in the war on terror – he came here at age 14 to live here the because he heard about Ameica while living destitute in Guatemala). So they are Americans in every sense of the word. It is cruel to 'send them back'.

    December 10, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Ellie Light

    no dream act - it is just vote scamming from the democraps

    December 10, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. rob

    This bill sounds great when you don't get the whole context or real effects of it. This slaps any person who is trying to get into this country legally in the face. It rewards illegal immigration. As usual the dems are calling Republicans Racists etc etc etc. because they have nothing else to offer....its all about politics for the Dems.

    Perhaps now that we don't have Nancy Pelosi pushing President Obama around, maybe he, moderate Dems and the Republicans can approach this and other problems in an adult way.

    December 10, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. James

    I don't know who they're polling but none of the people I know what this amnesty passed. We know that if it passes, more and more illegals will be bring their kids across the border for the same deal. When does it end?

    December 10, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. DJ in TX

    I can understand the Amnesty issues for some, but remember, these were children and had no say so in what their parents did. Their parents brought them here illegally, but they have demonstrated the capacity to be good citizens by finishing high school (I don't agree with the GED). They have to continue to show the capacity by being good citizens either by going to college or to the military (needs to be longer than 2 years). So, do you punish the children again, who had no say so on what their parents did? Where are the kids supposed to go and what are they supposed to do? All loopholes need to be closed and this needs to be a "moving" document, so if any loopholes come up, they can be quickly dealt with.

    December 10, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. james mcguire

    I don't support this so called dream act. It's the dream of dems to get a bunch of illegals voting for them and nothing more. If you don't come in the legal way you're not entitled to anything. Wait your turn like the millions of others have done in the past. I'm all for legal immigration because all my family came to America legally. Politicians of all stripes should be ashamed for allowing this invasion of illegals.

    December 10, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. rs

    Doesn't matter- all Republicans want to do is:block, block, block (and give obscene tax breaks to the rich!).

    December 10, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. stfu

    95% of people polled want to ban water (dihydrogen monoxide), ergo it's a good idea to ban water. Wonderful logic.

    cnn viewership is a few hundred thousand at most, mainstream media is a joke.

    December 10, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    Unless you're Native American, you're ancestors were immigrants. My grandfather was an immigrant from Italy... but he came here LEGALLY and assimilated himself in the American culture and learned to speak ENGLISH.

    When you think about it, getting in line and learning the language really isn't a huge price to pay for the priviledge of living in the greatest country on the planet.

    Sorry – no shortcuts.

    December 10, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. Zoey

    "The survey also indicates non-Hispanic whites divided on the issue, with nearly seven in ten non-whites supportive of the DREAM act." This sentence doesn't make sense. Please clarify.

    December 10, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Minnesotan

    I support the DREAM act ONLY if these illegals enlist in the military. Otherwise, get to the back of the immigration line in your own country.

    December 10, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. larry

    I do not know what section of the population is polled but I do not believe that a majority of the population is in favor of the "dream" act. The polls can be controlled by the media reporting the results!!!!

    December 10, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. CBR

    54% agree with the DREAM Act but the Republicans in Congress will not think that is a wide enough margin.
    Any attempt to help others is not in their manifesto.

    The DREAM Act is a way to honor those who have served and worked without the benefit of American Citizenship. Many have done the jobs we Americans will not do. To vote against this bill is to vote against these immigrants.

    Many spent their careers keeping the military well-fed. Some were assigned to Generals and Admirals to help them and their families because the "military brass" have many social obligations. They served with distinction and they deserve to be United States citizens.

    There are hundreds of people from Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries who have supported our troops in those countries. Their lives are now endanger and they cannot live in their own countries because they will be killed.

    December 10, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. Jeff

    This bill has beem around for a decade & has not passed.There are many valid reasons for that.Oh sure,it's all warm & fuzzy on the face of it.Save the lil children,WWJD?It's the moral thing to do.....Pleeeeze,spare me.The devil is in the details.It invites fraud,is not verifiable,it's chain migration,it's amnesty,it rewards illegal behavior,it sends the message that if you wait long enough we'll forget you're illegal.No Amnesty,No Howe,NO Way.Secure the borders,then,& only then,we'll talk.

    December 10, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Jeff

    Democracy = majority rule. When will the majority be able to get the government we pay for? Do we need to out-bid the corporate operators who keep the fringe up in arms? Elect some unknowns who haven't been corrupted!!!

    December 10, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Bob Bakh

    But that is the the law that is in question, there is no need to go to college or the military to get a waiver. Military already has a process for citizenship, so it is not necessary, and college has a meaning to people that is not in the law, it is any after high school education, and only two years at that. The poll is skewed. It also does not ask if they should be allowed to grant citizenship to their parents once they are citizens. you know the people that illegally crossed the boarder through fault of their own. This is amnesty pure and simple. It is a 10 year free pass with no punishment for lying on a federal form.

    December 10, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Time Grows Short

    The viciously anti-American American press, led by CNN and MSNBC, will eventually collapse into the dust bin of history. Your support for the Democrat/Progressive/Marxist filthy spewing from the White House is disgusting.

    December 10, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Peter s

    It's next to impossible to pack all those children to the Caribbean, Mexico, Africa, and even Europe! lets do the right thing if we don't we loose there is no simple, fix it, solution here. Give those children liberty!

    December 10, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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