/ Modified apr 26, 2012 1:21 p.m.

Poll: Arizonans support DREAM Act

73% of registered voters, across party and ethnic spectrum, are in favor

By Nick Blumberg, Fronteras Desk

Nearly three-fourths of registered Arizona voters support the DREAM Act, the latest Merrill/Morrison Institute Poll from Arizona State University found.

The DREAM Act, federal legislation that has been rejected by congressional Republicans, would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who get a college degree or serve in the military. It has been a subject of debate for more than a decade.

The Fronteras Desk, a border region collaborative of seven public radio stations, reported that 73 percent of registered voters in Arizona either support or strongly support the act.

That may be surprising, since previous polling showed three-quarters of Arizonans want more border enforcement, and 60 percent of Arizonans support SB1070. But associate poll director Tara Blanc wasn’t surprised by the support for the DREAM Act.

"There is no question that voters want the borders tightened, that they want the flow of illegal immigrants to stop," Blanc said. "But on the other hand, it’s also clear to us that the majority of people see that there’s more than one part to it. And part of the issue is, what do we do about people who are already here?"

Among non-Latino Anglos, 42 percent “strongly support” the DREAM Act and 28 percent “support” it, for total Anglo support of 70 percent. Among Latinos, 63 percent said they are in "strongly support" and 24 percent in "support" for total Latino support of 87 percent.

“While strong support for the DREAM Act among Hispanics comes as no surprise, it is more important to note that seven out of 10 Anglos also support it,” said David Daugherty, director of research at the Morrison Institute. “These findings largely contradict the common impression that Arizonans are anti-Mexican immigrant.”

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