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Polls back Pelosi’s claim of DREAM Act popularity

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., recently announced a deal with President Trump on protecting “Dreamers,” young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children and temporarily shielded from deportation under the Obama-era DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program.

This week, Pelosi claimed three-quarters of Americans support the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill to offer protections for that group as long as they meet certain requirements. It would also include a path to citizenship for those who graduate from U.S. high schools and attend college, enter the workforce, or enlist in a military program.

As evidence for the claim, Pelosi’s spokesman pointed to a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted Aug. 31 through Sept. 3, 2017 with responses from nearly 2,000 registered voters.

The questions didn’t mention the DREAM Act specifically, but one asked: “As you may know, Dreamers are young people who were brought to the United States illegally when they were children, often with their parents. Which of the following do you think is the best way to handle Dreamers?”

• 58 percent said Dreamers “should be allowed to stay and become citizens if they meet certain requirements.”

• 18 percent said Dreamers “should be allowed to stay and become legal residents, but NOT citizens, if they meet certain requirements.”

Combined, this totals the 76 percent Pelosi cited.

The poll found 69 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats surveyed favored one of these two options.

Kathleen Frankovic, a leading expert on public opinion polling, told us there haven’t been many recent surveys specifically on the DREAM Act but other polling has shown “general support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.”

Frankovic cautioned: “Since wording can affect answers on this subject, politicians can pick and choose the numbers they want to cite, the ones that make the strongest case for their position.”

A question in a CNN/ORC poll from March 2017 was more detailed on the type of immigrant that should be considered for legal status. It asked, “Now, thinking about how the U.S. government should treat illegal immigrants who have been in this country for a number of years, hold a job, speak English and are willing to pay any back taxes that they owe. Would you favor or oppose a bill that allowed those immigrants to stay in this country rather than being deported and eventually allow them to apply for U.S. citizenship?

Ninety percent said they favored such a bill.

Three Gallup polls show increasing support for a path to citizenship for those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

• A December 2010 Gallup poll found 54 percent of Americans supported allowing “illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college.” It found 66 percent of Democrats favored it, while 34 percent of Republicans backed the idea.

• A July 2015 Gallup poll found 65 percent of U.S. adults favored a plan to let immigrants living illegally in the U.S. to remain and become citizens if they met certain requirements over time.

• A July 2016 Gallup poll, found 84 percent of U.S. adults favored that idea. Looking at the parties, 91 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of Republicans supported it.

Our rating

A September 2017 poll by Politico/Morning Consult backs up Pelosi’s number, as does an April 2017 poll by the same group. Gallup polls from recent years show increasing support for the key points of the DREAM Act. Additional surveys show about two-thirds to three-quarters of respondents have backed a path to citizenship for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally, under certain conditions.

Pelosi’s claim is backed up by the polling.

We rate it True.

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