Social media survey supports aid to students in the shadows

For about 140,000 DREAMers who live in Florida, the DREAM Act, first introduced in 2001, would have created an opportunity to continue their educations in U.S. colleges and given them a conditional, 10-year path to citizenship.

Miami MONTAGE students conducted an unscientific online poll promoted through Facebook and other social media websites. There were 146 responses. The survey showed positive support for DREAMers and their pursuit of college educations.

According to the survey, 78 percent believe that DREAMers should be allowed to remain in the United States, while 11 percent remained neutral. Eleven percent said DREAMers should not be allowed to stay.

When the responders were asked whether they believe the United States will pass the DREAM Act, 53 percent agreed and 21 percent said no.

President Obama’s stop-gap measure Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows DREAMers under the age of 30 to study and work in the United States, but those students were still required to pay out-of-state tuition in most states.

Most of the immigration “receiver states” such as Florida, California and Texas have passed their own in-state tuition acts that allow DREAMers to pay in-state rather than the significantly more expensive out-of-state-tuition. Florida’s version went into effect July 1.

Of the 49 percent of poll respondents who strongly agreed DREAMers should be allowed to stay in the United States, 37 percent also strongly agree that they should be granted in-state tuition. DREAMers should have access to scholarships and financial aid, according to 69 percent of poll respondents, while 22 percent said they should not; 8 percent were neutral.

Overall, the majority of responders said they support the DREAMers. Some agreed that DREAMers should be allowed to stay in the United States, but did not necessarily agree with the in-state tuition policy. The poll showed 69 percent of respondents said they want DREAMers to succeed and are willing to give them a chance to do so.

Considering the high level of support shown toward DREAMers by poll respondents, a surprisingly low number said they personally know a DREAMer. Only 31 percent said they know a DREAMer, 51 percent did not, while 18 percent said they could not answer. The survey seemed to indicate that people do not need a personal connection or specific reason for involvement to support DREAMers.

The majority of responders were well informed on the current immigration policy: 68 percent said they have a thorough understanding of the DREAM Act and 56 percent said they understood DACA.