NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – A majority of New Jersey residents (53 percent) supports President Barack Obama’s executive order sparing millions of undocumented immigrants from risk of immediate deportation by refocusing enforcement efforts on “felons, not families,” according to results of a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released today. Forty-two percent oppose the action, and 6 percent are unsure.
Obama’s Nov. 20 announcement also provides an opportunity to apply for three years of relief from deportation and work permits, available to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before 2010 and were under 16 years old or have at least one child who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident. Those who will be able to avoid deportation are mostly parents and young people.
While a plurality of 43 percent says Obama went too far in bypassing Congress with his executive order, more residents think either he did not go far enough (23 percent) or did about right (25 percent).Half of New Jerseyans say Obama had no choice but to act, agreeing with the president’s claim that he had to use an executive order because Congress has refused to pass needed reforms. But nearly as many – 47 percent – think the president should have continued efforts to work with Congress on immigration reform.
“Obama acted knowing he will face a hostile Republican-led Congress next year,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “Here in New Jersey, that decision goes over relatively well, although even some who support this action would have preferred that he keep trying to work with Congress.”
The president’s announcement generated an outcry from Republicans in Congress, some of whom suggested shutting down the government or initiating impeachment over Obama’s action. New Jersey residents, however, overwhelmingly say Republicans should simply pass their own immigration legislation if they are unhappy with Obama’s decision. Nearly six in 10 take this position, while 17 percent think Republicans should do nothing in response. Ten percent call for impeachment, while 6 percent support a Republican lawsuit against the president. Just 3 percent say Republicans should shut down the government.
Results are from a statewide poll of 750 residents contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Dec. 3-10, 2014, with a margin of error of +/-4.0 percentage points.
To read the entire poll, click here.
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