Poll: Millennials don't share Trump's immigration stance

 

Millennials don't share the tough stance on immigration that the Republican presidential front-runner has taken, according to a new poll.

However, voters younger than 35 are more divided on border security and deportation.

Millennials support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants by more than 2 to 1, or 68% to 26%, according to a USA TODAY/Rock the Vote poll.

"Most of them have been contributing in a great way, and I think they should be allowed to stay. And I think they should be allowed to gain their citizenship here," said Emery Engle, 24, a telecommunications worker from Tucson who participated in the survey.

Similarly, millennials think it should be easier for people from other countries to come to the U.S. legally by 63% to 30%. Sixty percent also think the next president should use his or her executive powers to deal with immigration if Congress doesn't act; 30% disagree.

Donald Trump and his main GOP rival, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, have vowed to revoke President Obama's executive actions on immigration if either is elected.

Obama's actions include an existing program that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to apply for protection from deportation and for work permits.  A separate program, now on hold following a court challenge, would offer the same benefits to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents.

Trump and Cruz also vehemently oppose allowing undocumented immigrants to gain legal status or citizenship. Both candidates say they would work to deport all immigrants who are in the country illegally.

However, Trump has said that he would allow some to return legally if they met certain conditions.

Millennials are somewhat divided on the issue of deportation. According to the poll, 42% agree all undocumented immigrants should be deported; 51% disagree.

Trump also has promised to complete a giant wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and make Mexico pay for it.

Millennials again are split when it comes to border security. Half say the next president should focus on securing the nation's borders before dealing with the rest of the immigration system; 42% disagree.

Ryanne Milani, 24, a software quality assurance worker from Baltimore, said border security is important, but other immigration issues are more pressing.

Those include addressing the legal status of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

"I just feel like there are more important things to worry about, not that it's not an important issue," she said. "I feel like (border security) is a thing that would require a lot of resources to not really address an issue. I just don't feel like it would fix the problem or is focusing on the right part of the problem."

The online survey from Washington-based Ipsos Public Affairs polled 1,541 adults ages 18 to 34 from March 3 to 10. Of those polled, 47% identified themselves as Democrat or leaning Democrat, 25% as Republican or leaning Republican and 18% as independent.

The poll is part of USA TODAY's One Nation initiative, a series of forums across the country on the most important issues of 2016.

The next forum focusing on immigration is Monday in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Arizona primary is Tuesday.

Follow Daniel González on Twitter: @azdangonzalez


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