Story by Jill Replogle
A new survey of young undocumented immigrants finds many started driving, working and going to school after gaining temporary legal status under an Obama administration program. The survey results also suggest that these so-called Dreamers are more politically active than the average American voter.
The survey found that many young immigrants are benefitting financially and integrating more fully into their communities after receiving temporary legal status and a work permit through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
Seventy percent of respondents said they got their first job or moved to a new job after receiving their DACA papers, 20 percent reported buying their first car, and 37 percent reported getting their first credit card.
On the political front, just under half of survey respondents identified as Democrat. And 44 percent identified as Independent or Other. Just 2 percent identified as Republican.
Some political strategists suggest it would be unwise for Republicans to support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants under the assumption that most lean Democrat.
Tom Wong, a political science professor at the University of California San Diego, disagreed.
“What the data show is that this sort of emerging constituency is more up for grabs politically than previously thought," he said.
Wong conducted the survey for United We Dream, a nationwide network of undocumented youth. Nearly fifteen hundred young immigrants in 42 states took the online survey.