AILSA CHANG, HOST:
There's no telling how the debate around DACA recipients is going to shake out, but a new poll has found that Americans are not convinced by the plan put forward by President Trump to protect these immigrants. That's what a new NPR/Ipsos poll has found. DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was the executive order signed by President Obama to give temporary legal status to certain young immigrants here in the country illegally. President Trump rescinded it and said the protections will end March 5 unless Congress figures something out. That will affect hundreds of thousands of people.
To talk more about how Americans view this, we're joined by NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Hey, Domenico.
DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hi, Ailsa.
CHANG: So you've been digging a lot into these numbers, and I just want to start with a very basic question. What do most Americans think should happen with DACA recipients?
MONTANARO: Well, two-thirds of people say that they're in favor of legal status for these DACA recipients or DREAMers. The president here is part of that majority. Now, what he said he wants in exchange for protecting DACA recipients is that border wall, and he's not with the majority in this one. By a 56 to 38 percent margin, actually, Americans said they're against a border wall. And 60 percent, Ailsa, say that it wastes taxpayer money.
CHANG: And I'm guessing those results break down along party lines, right? I mean, the wall was a key part of the president's campaign. Democrats have always been staunchly opposed to the idea of it. What does the poll show?
MONTANARO: How did you guess?
MONTANARO: Three quarters of Democrats are against building a wall along the southern border with Mexico. Six in 10 independents are also against it. But compare that to 68 percent of Republicans. They want one.
CHANG: The president's also proposing changes to current policy that allows immigrants to sponsor family members. How do people polled feel about that?
MONTANARO: Well, significant majorities of Americans across the political divide agree that immigrants should be permitted to bring immediate family members. That's spouses, minor children, even parents. But there's a split on whether there should be restrictions on extended family. When it comes to adult children, that's where things change.
Americans are split on whether they should be allowed to emigrate with their parents, and there's a huge divide based on whether you're a Republican or Democrat. They are mirror images, in fact. Sixty-three percent of Democrats are OK with it. Thirty-six Republicans - 36 percent of Republicans are against it and say no. So by the way, when it comes to cousins, aunts, uncles, they face a much less welcoming American public. Overwhelmingly, Americans think they should not be allowed to seek permanent residence.
CHANG: What does this poll tell us about larger attitudes towards immigrants here in the U.S.?
MONTANARO: Well, first let's start with the good news.
MONTANARO: There's broad support generally across the parties for the notions that immigrants are an important part of the American identity and the cultural diversity that makes America a better place to live. Those are the exact words from the poll. But if you dig a little deeper, real differences - that's where they emerge. Let's take hiring for example. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans think when jobs are scarce, priority should be given to native-born Americans while just 42 percent of Democrats feel the same way. And 58 percent of Republicans think priority should be given to immigrants who speak English. Only about a third of Democrats said they feel that way, and independents are split.
But one of the things that really struck me in this survey is there has been a real spike in Republicans believing the number of immigrants coming to America should be decreased. Currently 62 percent of Republicans say that. That, Ailsa, is a 26-point - percentage point increase from 2014. What happened in 2015? President Trump - Donald Trump started running for president. That's when he really emerged on the political scene.
CHANG: And we're talking about legal immigration.
CHANG: All right, that's NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Thanks so much.
MONTANARO: You're welcome.
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