A new poll of Georgia residents conducted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution finds that a majority supports allowing illegal immigrant parents who have lived in the United States for five years and have no serious criminal convictions to remain in the country without being deported. This position mirrors the executive action announced by President Obama last November.
The AJC poll shows an equal percentage of men and women — 67 percent — support providing deportation deferrals and work permits to immigrant parents living without papers in the U.S. Support among Democratic respondents totaled 77 percent. That number dropped to 59 percent for Republicans.
Seventy-four percent of blacks indicated support compared with 62 percent of whites. Those living in metro Atlanta showed the most support — at 80 percent — compared with people in other parts of the state. The youngest group of those surveyed — ages 18-39 — support it the most at 78 percent. Those 40-64 years old showed the least support at 59 percent.
The AJC released the poll on the same day that the U.S. House voted to effectively roll back the President’s order. All of Georgia’s Republican representatives voted for the measure. To be fair, Georgia’s representatives explained their votes by citing an overreach of presidential authority. Presidential overreach was also the reason that Attorney General Sam Olens joined a Texas lawsuit seeking redress from the President’s actions.
Opposition to illegal immigration has become a driving force for many in the Tea Party, and immigration was used as a wedge issue in Georgia’s election campaigns. Yet, with a majority of Georgians — especially millennials — supporting relief for some undocumented immigrants, is it time to reconsider how many in the GOP approach the issue?