Utah Republican leaders see results from a recent nationwide poll as confirmation of what they already believed: that conservatives across the country support young, undocumented immigrants brought here as children.
The poll, conducted by New American Economy and TargetPoint Consulting and released this week, showed that most Republican and conservative voters — including those who voted for and still approve of President Donald Trump’s performance — would support a deal that includes both added border security and a pathway to citizenship for the immigrants in question, often referred to as “Dreamers.”
Many of these immigrants legally attend school and work in the United States under the Obama-era administrative program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which Trump tried to revoke in September. A federal judge ordered the controversial program reinstated in January, though the government has appealed that decision.
Eighty percent of the conservative and Republican poll participants said they support a deal to increase border security in exchange for Dreamer protections, while 13 percent oppose the idea.
Among Trump-base voters, 86 percent support such a deal to increase security, while 10 percent oppose, according to the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percentage points.
And even among voters who oppose such a deal, only 12 percent of the conservative/Republican group and 11 percent of the Trump-base group would change their vote to a different GOP candidate. One percent of the voters in the overall group and less than 1 percent of Trump voters would refuse to support the party in the 2018 midterms.
Utahns have repeatedly expressed support for DACA recipients in local polls, and state leaders — including state Sen. Todd Weiler, former state GOP Chairman Stan Lockhart and World Trade Center Utah CEO Derek Miller — commented Friday during a press call that these most recent findings reaffirm their beliefs about the group of immigrants.
“Republicans understand these kids are just like our kids,” Lockhart said.
And compassionate reasoning aside, immigrants in Utah boost the economy, the leaders added.
With an unemployment rate of 3 percent across the state, DACA recipients — 91 percent of whom are employed — help fill a worker shortage, Miller said.
It’s senseless, Miller added, to send people who have been raised and educated locally somewhere else when they could contribute here.
Weiler said the poll numbers should put additional pressure on Utah’s congressional delegates to act nearly seven months after “President Trump basically threw down the gauntlet.”
There are many issues in Washington that Utah’s politicians can ignore, Weiler said, but immigration is not one of them: “We need Utah congressmen to lead out and get something done.”