More than seven in 10 Coloradans say they support legislation offering citizenship to Dreamers and those with temporary protected status, according to a recent poll commissioned by the advocacy group, The Immigration Hub.
According to the poll, 74% of voters in Colorado “believe that the United States government should offer a path to citizenship for Dreamers and TPS-holders.” The poll also found that 66% of independent voters in Colorado favored citizenship for Dreamers and TPS holders and that 47% of Republican voters said both groups should be offered a way to earn citizenship.
“That’s huge,” said Jane Loria, a survey data analyst for Change Research, which conducted the poll. “The implications here are that people in Colorado are ready for immigration reform, and immigration reform shouldn’t take the shape of a wall. This survey tells us that Americans see immigrants, by and large, as community members who live in this country, base their families in this country, and deserve an opportunity to become a citizen in this country.”
Dreamers most often refers to those brought illegally to the United States when they were children, but who have grown up here. That group includes young people granted temporary protection against deportation and permission to work under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Colorado has an estimated 17,670 DACA recipients, according to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services data.
TPS is granted to nationals from countries that are experiencing problems that make it difficult or unsafe for them to be deported back to those countries. There are 3,000 TPS holders and their United States-born children in Colorado.
Dreamer Marissa Molina, Colorado state immigration manager for FWD.us, a bipartisan political organization advocating immigration reform, said the poll’s findings do not surprise her.
“We are part of the Colorado fabric and it is the reason I love our state because people … are able to understand why this matters to us,” said Molina, who has lived here for 18 years. “Not just because of individuals that are impacted, but because this impacts our community as a whole.”
This poll comes at a time when Congress is working on passing the Dreams and Promises Act, a bill that “establishes a roadmap to U.S. citizenship for immigrant youth and current or potential holders of temporary protected status or deferred enforced departure,” according to the National Immigration Law Center. The bill is in the House. Should it pass, it faces greater uncertainty in the Senate.
As the Trump administration continues to beef up immigration enforcement and public debate becomes increasingly polarized, the poll’s findings and the bill represent “a really great opportunity to continue to know that there is momentum and there is support growing both in Congress and communities for these protections,” Molina said.
Becoming a citizen is not simply a matter of “getting in line” as some believe,” she said, noting that sometimes a line doesn’t even exist. “There (are) all of these different barriers that currently exist because this system is so outdated.”
The online poll of 1,447 voters was conducted from May 5-7 and included a statewide polling pool, with special emphasis on Jefferson County, a swing county. The margin of error for the survey was plus or minus 2.6. The Immigration Hub is a national organization “dedicated to advancing fair and just immigration policies through strategic leadership, innovative communications strategies, legislative advocacy and collaborative partnerships.”