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Survey: Millennials strongly support path to citizenship

Image: People look at prototypes of a border wall
People look at prototypes of a border wall Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in San Diego. Copyright Elliott Spagat AP
Copyright Elliott Spagat AP
By Suzanne Gamboa with NBC News
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What are millennials' views on immigration?

WASHINGTON -- There is heavy support among millennials for certain immigrants to eventually get citizenship, but opinion splits when it comes to ensuring jobs go to people legally here and border enforcement.

The GenForward survey results released Monday showed strong support for creation of a path to citizenship for law-abiding citizens in the country illegally.

There also was strong support for allowing undocumented immigrants who have been here since they were young children, often called Dreamers, to get a path to citizenship, along with undocumented immigrants who served in the military and are honorably discharged.

But 65 percent of African American millennials, 73 percent of Asian American millennials and 78 percent of white millennials support requiring employers to verify that new hires are living in the U.S. legally, according to the GenForward Survey.

Only 46 percent of Latino millennials supported such a policy.

White millennials are the only racial group in which a majority, 57 percent, support increasing government spending on security measures and enforcement at U.S. borders. That compares to 44 percent of Asian American, 42 percent of African American and 37 percent of Latino millennials.

Image: People look at prototypes of a border wall
People look at prototypes of a border wall Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in San Diego. Elliott SpagatAP

Only 10 percent of white millennials said they worry that they will be deported or a family member or close friend will be.

GenForward founder Cathy Cohen said millennials are the largest generation now, as well as the most diverse. They also comprise the largest share of the workforce and the largest share of eligible voters.

"Far from being a kind of niche group, it's really hard to imagine making good policy and legislation without paying attention to this group, especially when we look at millennials through the lens of race and ethnicity," Cohen said.

Other findings in the report, which was conducted between Oct. 26 and Nov. 10, 2017.

- Eighty-six percent of white millennials feel they are full and equal citizens, a feeling shared by only 56 percent of African Americans and 68 percent of Asian Americans and 68 percent of Latinos.

- African American and white millennials are overwhelmingly born in the U.S., compared to 57 percent of Latinos and 53 percent of Asians.

- A majority of millennials who voted for President Donald Trump support creating a pathway to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants, immigrants eligible for Deferered Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA and immigrants who served in the military.

- The Trump-voting millennials also support building a border wall and deporting undocumented immigrants.


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