Most don’t want ‘Dreamers’ deported, but Trump misstates number

President Donald Trump has questioned why undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children should be deported, a departure from the campaign when he advocated the removal of all who were violating immigration laws.

Trump’s administration is phasing out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

At the same time, Trump wants Congress to pass a permanent solution for the so-called “Dreamers,” saying the idea has very high support among Americans. (DACA recipients are commonly called “Dreamers.”)

“Look, 92 percent of the people agree on DACA, but what we want is we want very, very powerful border security,” Trump said Sept. 14. He said Republican congressional leaders were also on board. Later in Florida, he said they were not looking at amnesty or citizenship, but “looking at allowing people to stay here.”

If and when funding for Trump’s border wall will come or what will be part of a DACA deal is still unclear.

For now, we were curious about Trump’s claim that 92 percent of people agree on a solution for DACA recipients. We did not find a poll showing support that high, but several polls do show that the majority of Americans want a favorable outcome for Dreamers.

The White House declined to comment for this fact-check.

We found several polls that asked about DACA and showed majority support for not deporting Dreamers. But we did not find nearly universal support as Trump described.

• A Morning Consult and Politico poll done between Sept. 7-11, after the administration announced it was eliminating DACA, found that of 1,976 registered voters polled, 45 percent said that was the wrong thing to do; 35 percent said it was the right thing to do; 20 percent did not know or had no opinion.

Asked about the issue in a different way — “When it comes to legislation regarding Dreamers, which of the following would you most like Congress to pass?” — 54 percent of respondents favored legislation that allowed Dreamers to stay and become citizens if they met certain requirements; 19 percent favored legislation to let them to stay legally but not become citizens; 12 percent wanted legislation that removes or deports them; and 15 percent did not know or had no opinion.

So, for this second question, 73 percent favored legislation that would protect Dreamers from deportation.

A previous Morning Consult and Politico poll, done April 20-24, asked about 2,000 registered voters what they thought was the best way to handle Dreamers. Fifty-six percent said they should be allowed to stay and become citizens if they met certain requirements, and 22 percent favored allowing them to stay and become legal residents, but not citizens. Overall, 78 percent did not want Dreamers to be deported.

• An NBC News and SurveyMonkey poll, conducted online from August 24-29 among 10,129 adults, found 64 percent support for DACA.

• A Sept. 3-5 poll from The Economist and YouGov of 1,500 U.S. adults also found 55 percent of responders somewhat or strongly supported DACA, though support for the program was lower among Trump voters and Republicans.

Several polling and public opinion experts we reached out to say they were not aware of any recent poll showing a 92 percent support for DACA, but a solid majority does seem to favor the program.

Our ruling

We found several polls in which a majority said they supported DACA or favored legislation that would allow Dreamers to stay in the United States. But the level of support was not as high as 92 percent.

Overall, we rate Trump’s statement Half True.

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