Saturday 23 February 2019
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Survey Finds Millennials Show Strong Support for Path to Citizenship


A recent survey has found that American millennials show a strong support for certain immigrants to eventually get citizenship. However, their opinions split regarding whether or not jobs should go to undocumented immigrants as well as funds for border enforcement.

The University of Chicago’s GenForward survey collected data between October 26 and November 10, 2017. It asked 1,800 millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 questions about American identity, U.S. immigration policies, and what they think makes someone a U.S. citizen.

The GenForward survey notes that millennials have strong support for the creation of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are law-abiding citizens. Additionally, strong support was found for allowing undocumented immigrants who have been living in the United States since they were young, referred to as DREAMers, to get a path to citizenship, as well as those undocumented immigrants who are honorably discharged after serving in the military.

But opinions began to differ when it came to providing jobs to undocumented immigrants. While 65% of African American millennials, 73% of Asian Americans millennials, and 78% of white millennials support employers having to verify that employees are legal U.S. citizens, only 46% of Latino millennials support this policy.

Policies regarding immigrants have been a topic of discussion for years now. While immigrants are responsible for helping to shape American culture by bringing ideas as big as Halloween, a national holiday brought to the U.S. in the 1800s from Ireland and Scotland, debates still occur regarding the requirement of legal citizenship.

The idea of increasing government spending on security measures and enforcement at U.S. borders was supported by 57% of white millennials. On the other hand, only 44% of Asian American millennials, 42% of African American millennials, and 37% of Latino millennials supported this policy.

But it is important to note that only 10% of white millennials said that they have concerns that they themselves, a family member, or a close friend will be deported, compared to 49% of Latino millennials.

The survey findings suggest that conversations about what immigration in the U.S. should look like get much more nuanced when discussing situations beyond DREAMers. While the White House is backing a plan that combats legalizing the status of DREAMers against that fate of future immigrants, it also suggests that attitudes are still undisclosed when it comes to the U.S. immigration system as a whole.

According to GenFoward founder Cathy Cohen, millennials are the largest and most diverse generation now. They also make up the largest share of the American workforce and the largest share of eligible voters.

“Far from being a kind of niche group, it’s really hard to imagine making good policy and legislation without paying attention to this group, especially when we look at millennials through the lens of race and ethnicity,” Cohen said.

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