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What is America's Youth's Take on the Immigration Controversy?

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Immigration policy has been at the forefront of the political discussion for the better part of the decade. It should come as no surprise that America’s youth has strong opinions about immigration, as many are directly affected or know somebody who will be directly affected by immigration policy changes.

Like the opinions of all United States citizens, the opinions of America’s youth are somewhat mixed when it comes to how immigration should be handled in the country. However, it appears that younger Americans are more supportive toward immigrants coming to, and remaining in the country both legally and illegally.

The Blame Game

Groups and individuals who claim that illegal immigrants are to blame for a lack of jobs for Americans don’t generally receive much support from younger Americans. That’s because most younger Americans realize that all immigrants, regardless of their legal status, spend money in the United States, and therefore create new jobs.

While there are certainly older Americans who support this sound economic theory, it seems that some prejudices are stronger among older adults who simply aren’t willing to accept that immigrants don’t negatively affect the US economy.

Deferred Action

Deferred action is a simple concept put forth by the Obama administration in late 2012. It simply says that undocumented immigrants facing deportation will be allowed to put in an application for a stay of deportation.

This would effectively allow many citizens who are worried about being deported to remain in the country if they meet certain criteria – criteria like being law abiding citizens, or citizens who have graduated, or are enrolled in school. The deferred action plan won’t cost the United States any money, as applicants must pay a $465 fee to file the necessary paperwork.

According to a late 2012 poll taken by CNN, young Americans strongly support deferred action for illegal immigrants who feel that the United States is their home. Not surprisingly, numbers of support are even higher for young Americans who were brought to the United States as children by their parents but are now facing deportation because of their undocumented status.

More Americans Support Immigrant Privileges

States like California and Oregon have recently started making driver’s licenses available to undocumented citizens who meet certain basic criteria and can pass written tests and road exams. While there is certainly some opposition to immigrants enjoying these privileges, it seems that the opposition isn’t coming from America’s youth, who strongly support immigrants who contribute positively to the United States economy having these basic privileges.

America’s Youth Isn’t Without Opposition to Immigration

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So overall, a large contingent of America’s youth believes that immigrants should be allowed to come to the United States. While some support amnesty and the DREAM Act for immigrants already living in the United States, others support only legal immigration. And then there are some that do not believe immigration should be allowed at all– at least not at the current rate. Economic recession and job loss to immigrants are common reasons cited.

Still, most of America’s youth does seem to support immigration in one form or another. Perhaps that’s because much of America’s under-30 population has grown up with immigrants, both legal and undocumented, all around them.

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