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Canadians split over accepting Dreamers from U.S., survey finds

A new survey from the Angus Reid Institute suggests 64 per cent of Canadians want America's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to remain in place. Meanwhile 38 per cent say Canada should offer DACA recipients the opportunity to come to this country, while 34 per cent say Canada should not. The rest, 28 per cent, are unsure.

Angus Reid survey finds most Canadians say DACA program should remain, but fewer would welcome those displaced

Demonstrators hold signs during a protest in front of the White House after the Trump administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would be scrapped. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

A national public opinion research foundation, based out of Vancouver, says the majority of Canadians believe the U.S. should preserve a program allowing the children of undocumented migrants to remain in the country, while far fewer are willing to receive those who may become displaced.

A new public opinion survey from the Angus Reid Institute finds 64 per cent of Canadians say America's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should remain. 

DACA was created in 2012 under former Democratic president Barack Obama. ​People who reside in the U.S. under the program are often called "Dreamers" after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM).

It was designed for individuals brought to the United States as children by parents who were undocumented immigrants — the program shielded the individuals from deportation and gave them work permits.

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to rescind the DACA program, claiming people cross the border illegally to take advantage of the program. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Dreamers are allowed to live in the U.S. providing they graduate from school and have no criminal record, but DACA has been under attack recently from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Over Easter weekend Trump announced there will not be a deal on legalizing the status of young adult immigrants known as Dreamers, declaring the U.S.-Mexico border is becoming more dangerous.

Meanwhile, according to the Angus Reid Institute survey, 38 per cent of Canadians say this country should offer DACA recipients the opportunity to come to here, while 34 per cent say the offer should not be made. The rest, 28 per cent, are unsure.

Canadians' views vary significantly depending on their familiarity with the DACA program, age, and political leanings, the institute said in a news release.

Last September, Ontario Independent Sen. Ratna Omidvar said Canada could gain from the Trump administration's decision to end the program.

She said many of them speak fluent English, have been educated in the U.S. and have work experience.

The estimated 800,000 young people who migrated to the U.S. illegally with their parents and are now living there under the DACA program face deportation to home countries they may now have little connection with.

Canadian views

The Angus Reid Institute survey suggests Canadian views around accepting Dreamers fall along demographics and political lines.

The youngest Canadian adults surveyed, aged 18-24, were more enthusiastic about welcoming DACA recipients, while those 25 and older were more divided.

The survey found that those who voted for the Liberal or New Democratic parties in 2015 largely support inviting DACA recipients to Canada.

Most of those who supported the Conservative Party said Canada should not offer such an opportunity.

The Angus Reid Institute surveyed 1,509 Canadian adults — a randomized sample from one of the company's forums over a three day period in late March. The probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 according to the company.

The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by the Angus Reid Institute.

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