Majority of Voters in Key States Support Public Benefits for Immigrant Children
Gabriel Vasquez (Former Staff)Children of Immigrants
Washington – A survey of non-Latino voters across battleground states finds that a majority of voters are supportive of public benefits for immigrant children, far more than what popular media and rhetoric surrounding presidential campaigns have recently suggested.
In the recent poll, 59 percent of non-Latino voters support federal policy that provides the children of undocumented immigrants with the same public benefits that other U.S. citizen children receive. Forty-five percent strongly support this position and only 32 percent oppose it.
“This confirms what we’ve been saying for years, Americans – both Democrats and Republicans – strongly support policies that benefit all children in this country,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy group.
The poll, commissioned by the bipartisan children’s advocacy group First Focus and conducted by Lake Research Partners, surveyed 600 non-Latino registered voters (100 in each state) by telephone between Feb. 22-26 with a +/- 4 percent margin of error. Republican, Democrat and Independent voters in the states of Ohio, Missouri, Arizona, New York, Minnesota and New Mexico were asked several questions related to their views on the rights of immigrant children.
Arizona and New York voters expressed the most support toward providing public benefits to immigrant children – 66 percent in both states. In all states, younger women (68 percent) were the most agreeable with this policy. Forty percent of Republicans overall agreed that immigrant children should have access to public benefits. Fifty-eight percent of Independent voters expressed their support.
“Voters agree that common sense immigration policy should put children’s needs first,” Lesley said. “We are much stronger when we come together as Americans and work in the best interest of kids. There’s strong support from voters that indicate the country’s support for all children.”
Additional findings from the poll include:
- Voters are dissatisfied with the immigration policies of both President Obama and Donald Trump, with 45 percent of respondents saying they find the president’s policies unfavorable and 55 percent of voters saying they find Trump’s immigration policies unfavorable. Only 30 percent of respondents favored Trump’s immigration policies.
- Three-fifths of voters (60 percent) report a favorable view of immigrants overall and 63 percent are favorable of immigrant children living in America. Only 22 percent of respondents were unfavorable to immigrants and 16 percent were unfavorable of immigrant children.
- In every state surveyed except Ohio, a majority of voters (53 percent) agree that all children living in America, despite their legal status, should have the same rights as U.S.-born children.
- Two-thirds of voters (67 percent) support maintaining the Constitutional right to birthright citizenship for all children born in the United States. New York voters are the most supportive of this policy, with 81 percent of respondents in favor. Twenty-two percent of overall respondents were opposed to birthright citizenship.
- The economy and jobs top voters’ list of priorities for Congress in all six states, with 32 percent of respondents saying it should be Congress’s top priority. Education and schools ranked second at 21 percent, and terrorism ranked third at 18 percent.
The poll’s findings clearly show that despite heated rhetoric around immigration issues in the media, non-Latino Republican, Independent, and Democrat voters in battleground states overwhelmingly agree that the current immigration system must be fixed and that all children living in the United States should be given a fair shot to contribute to the future success of the country and the U.S. economy.
“In states like Arizona, where anti-immigrant legislation has recently become the norm, voters from both parties agree that immigrant children should have access to public benefits and have the same rights as U.S.-born children,” Lesley said. “State governments and Congress should act accordingly and compassionately to give all children in America a fair chance to succeed.”
For additional findings and analysis of the poll, click here.
First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.firstfocus.org.