A majority (74 percent) of U.S. Protestants and Catholics support “Dreamers” receiving permanent legal status, according to a Pew Research Center report released on Jan. 19.
“Dreamers” are persons brought to the U.S. as minors and who have only known the U.S. as their home.
The term derives from a 2011 Congressional proposal – the “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2011” or “DREAM Act of 2011” – that has been revised and re-introduced in 2017 as the “DREAM Act of 2017.”
“Dreamers” have been protected from the possibility of deportation by “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA, a policy implemented by executive order in 2012 after Congress failed to pass immigration reform.
DACA is set to expire in March 2018 unless Congress passes new legislation, though a recent court order has resulted in renewal applications being processed again by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
To qualify for DACA, persons must have been 31 years old or younger as of June 15, 2012, arrived before age 16, have no criminal record and have lived continuously in the U.S. since arrival, among other requirements.
Hispanic Catholics were most likely to support “granting permanent, legal status to immigrants who came illegally to the U.S. when they were children,” with 92 percent of respondents supporting this position.
By comparison, 83 percent of black Protestants, 71 percent of white Catholics, 69 percent of white mainline Protestants and 55 percent of white evangelical Protestants support permanent legal status for “Dreamers.”
Views about “substantially expanding the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico” were more varied, with 59 percent of U.S. Protestants and Catholics opposing such action.
A majority of both white evangelical Protestants (65 percent) and white Catholics (55 percent) support the wall expansion, while white mainline Protestants were evenly split at 49 percent approval.
Only 17 percent of both Hispanic Catholics and black Protestants supported this position.
Among all U.S. adults, 74 percent favor permanent legal status for “Dreamers” and 60 percent oppose expanding the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The full report is available here.
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