In the weeks after President Barack Obama presented his immigration executive action, many have voiced their opinions on the policy changes. Republican lawmakers have spoken out against the action as being illegal and bad policy. Some immigration activists have criticized the action for not going far enough. However, the country at large remains very divided on the issue.
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center has found the country split in response to Obama's executive action. 50 percent of those polled disapproved of Obama's action, with 46 percent approving the expansion for deferred deportation. People are sharply divided along party lines, with more than 80 percent of Republicans disapproving of the executive action, and about 70 percent of Democrats approving. A full 91 percent of Tea Party leaning Republicans disapproved of the executive action. Independents were split matching the overall trend, with 52 percent against the action, and 44 percent approving.
The survey was conducted among 1,500 people, and taken a couple weeks after the president made the immigration announcement. Much of the disapproval attaches to the president's specific action. In general, the majority of Americans (70%) find that there should be a way for undocumented immigrants should have a way to stay in the U.S., and 24 percent say they should not be allowed to stay.
The country continues to disapprove of the president's handling of immigration matters. 56 percent disapprove, although his approval has gone up six percent since last year to 38 percent. Although the announcement on Obama's executive action has apparently found success with the Hispanic population. A year ago, only 43 percent of Hispanics approved of the president's handling of national immigration policy. That number has now jumped up to 67 percent.
With Hispanic voters becoming an increasingly important demographic, the president's move appears to have had an impact in gaining Hispanic support going forward. Hispanics make up about 14 percent of the population. Obama won 70 percent of the Hispanic vote in the last presidential election. Meanwhile, the Republican party continues to further alienate this important voting group. Republican's were successful in winning back seats in the mid-term election, but there is no indication that the party will find favor with Hispanic voters in the next presidential election.
The changes announced through executive action will not begin to take effect until next year. In the meantime, millions of immigrants are waiting to find out if they will be eligible for deferred action. Around the country information sessions are being offered to answer questions and provide clarification on the coming changes. Nearly 5,000 immigrants came out for just such an information session in Los Angeles recently.
The session was organized not only for immigration activists to provide information, but also to galvanize supporters of the program, which may be under threat if Republicans have their way. 20 states, including Arizona, have now joined Texas in a lawsuit challenging the immigration executive actions. Activists hope that by getting people to sign up as soon as possible, it will be more difficult for Republicans to end the program.