As DACA Hits Supreme Court, Study Finds Most Americans Want Undocumented Immigrants To Be Able To Stay In U.S. Legally

The majority of Americans believe it is important for the U.S. to establish a way for most undocumented immigrants in the country to remain here legally, a new study has found.

The revelation from the Pew Research Center's findings, which were published on Tuesday, comes as the Supreme Court deliberates over whether the Trump administration can legally end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Under the DACA program, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents have been allowed to live and work in the country.

However, the Trump administration has sought to bring the program to an end, a bid which was temporarily blocked by courts and which will now be brought before the Supreme Court this week.

According to the Pew Research Center's findings, two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) said it was "very or somewhat important" for the U.S. to establish a way for "most immigrants in the country illegally to remain her legally."

While support for a pathway for undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. fell largely along party lines, nearly half (48 percent) of Republican and Republican-leaning participants said they were in favor of the idea.

Meanwhile, 82 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they felt it was an important goal.

In addition to establishing a route for most undocumented immigrants to be able to remain in the U.S., Americans also expressed support for taking in refugees fleeing war and violence.

Seventy-three percent of the 9,895 respondents who were surveyed between September 3 and 15 said they felt it was important for the U.S. to take in refugees, with Republicans showing greater support for that goal than in previous years.

In 2016, Pew said, just 40 percent of Republicans identified admitting refugees as an important initiative. This year, however, a majority of Republicans (58 percent) said they supported that goal.

While the majority of Americans were in favor of both of the above initiatives, they also expressed support for strengthening security along the U.S.-Mexico border, with 68 percent of participants in favor of that goal.

Around 9 in 10 Republicans (91 percent) said they were in favor of increasing security at the border, while about half of Democrats and Democratic-leaning respondents (49 percent) said they believed it was an important bid.

The apparent divide between Republicans and Democrats is also significant when it comes to increasing deportations of immigrants unauthorized to be in the U.S.

Roughly eight-in-ten Republicans (83 percent) said they were in favor of increasing deportations, including 51 percent who identified that initiative as "very important."

Meanwhile, among Democrats, support for that bid was much lower, with around just three-in-10 (31 percent) in favor of boosting deportations and only 10 percent calling it a "very important" goal."

Despite what the American public thinks, the decision on whether DACA is allowed to move forward currently sits in the Supreme Court's hands.

Justices will be deliberating on whether federal courts should have been able to block the Trump administration's decision to end the program—and whether Trump had the legal right to end it in the first place.

If the program does come to an end, the thousands of people who benefit the program, as well as the many who might have applied for DACA protections in the future could face deportation from the U.S.

In an interview with Newsweek on Monday, Carolina Fung Feng, a DACA recipient and plaintiff in one of the cases before the Supreme Court, said that if the Supreme Court rules in the Trump administration's favor, she could lose her job and be deported back to a country that she left when she was 12-years-old.

"I'd be separated from my family here in New York and, also, I would lose the ability to be independent," Feng said. "Right now, I live on my own with my younger brother, so if they were to eliminate the DACA program permanently I wouldn't be able to help my brother pay for the house."

Feng, who is now 30 and works in the U.S. helping adult learners earn their high school equivalency diplomas, said she cannot understand why the U.S. government would want to see the country lose a population that has contributed to the country's economy and strengthened its local communities.

"We contribute to this economy. We haven't done anything wrong," she said. "We're just human beings who want to live a better life and we want to protect our families and do the best we can so they can have a better life."

DACA
Immigration rights activists take part in a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on November 12, 2019 as justices deliberate over action on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY
As DACA Hits Supreme Court, Study Finds Most Americans Want Undocumented Immigrants To Be Able To Stay In U.S. Legally | U.S.