Poll shows majority of Californians disapprove of DREAM Act


A new poll shows that a majority of California’s registered voters oppose the state’s DREAM Act despite significant political support for the bill, which was signed into law in October.

Fifty-five percent of the state’s voters oppose the act, compared to the 40 percent of voters who support it, according to the poll conducted by the University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times. The poll also reveals a deep racial divide between white respondents, who oppose the act by a large majority, and Latino respondents, who overwhelmingly support it.

The poll, which surveyed 1,500 registered voters, found that 79 percent of Latino respondents support the act, but 66 percent of white respondents oppose it. Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said the divide was unusual.

“You don’t see divides along racial lines like this in most studies,” Schnur said.

Assemblymember Tim Donnelly — currently spearheading an effort to repeal the act via a 2012 ballot measure — said he was not surprised by the results of the poll, although he said he believed them to be skewed. He said over half of those who came to a petition-signing event supporting his effort were Hispanic.

“People are upset about (the act), and they’re upset about it for a variety of reasons,” Donnelly said. “I’ve never seen people so personalize an issue in all my time in office.”

Varying viewpoints on the issue of undocumented students receiving state financial aid help explain the significant racial divide between those who support and oppose the bill, according to Schnur.

“My best guess is that most of those voters who oppose the bill were doing so for economic rather than ethnic or race-based reasons,” Schnur said. “Among Latino voters, this issue is very personal. They’re much more likely to know someone (affected by the bill).”

Jessica Lopez, an undocumented student at UC Berkeley and co-chair of RISE — a campus group seeking to promote education among undocumented students — is one of those people. She said the racial divide is a result of a white majority unconcerned with educating immigrant children in California — immigrant children she said will eventually contribute to the state’s economy and prosperity.

“The Latino community who understands that this population is here because of very real, life-threatening concerns in other parts of the world is for the education of the youth,” she said. “Of course the majority opposes the DREAM Act. It benefits the minorities … that also contribute to the state of California but are not recognized for their contributions.”

Over 70 advocacy and public interest groups supported the act on the state Senate floor while only three opposed it, according to an Aug. 30 analysis of the act, which passed through the State Assembly with a 48 to 27 vote in September and was signed into law in October. Schnur said the disparity between political and public support for the act is a result of the strength of advocacy from supporters.

“(A bill’s) chances for success are … based on the intensity of support,” he said. “The supporters were much more motivated towards passage than its opponents were against it.”

But Rigo Avelar, Sacramento regional coordinator for Stop AB 131 — a group dedicated to overturning the act — said he thinks public opposition to the bill will be enough to get the repeal on the ballot next year.

“It’s gonna be a slam dunk to get this overturned,” he said. “The voters are just gonna say ‘no way.’”

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  • I hate how this article pays no mention to fact that undocumented students and their parents also pay taxes but have no right to vote. In essence, undocumented tax dollars have been contributing for years to state funds and for the first time ever undocumented college students will be able to apply for less than 1% of the funds that they have been contributing to. Undocumented students would only be allowed to apply for financial aid AFTER all other citizens have received theirs. So this is why less than 1% of Cal Grants will actually be impacted by undocumented students. The “I don’t know” crowd should indeed be bigger. 66% of White voters are opposed and don’t even know what the hell they are opposed to- finally a fair shot at less than 1% of Cal Grants despite having contributed to the funds for years? This is still economically unjust and we can’t even have that? 

    • Rigo Avelar

      ROSA, they pay taxes? I pay more in a month than they pay all year.  Don’t forget that at the end of the year they itemize and get more back than what they MIGHT have paid in. So much for that JOKE.  It costs more to to pay for one of their anchor babies than what the might pay in YEARS

  • Guest

    “will eventually contribute to the state’s economy and prosperity”
    Only if they remain unskilled casual labor.  College graduates won’t be able to enroll in Social Security, get a driver’s license, pass a security check, apply for a passport, etc.

    • This would be taken care of by the Federal Dream Act which would grant a path to citizenship for College students and immigrants who join the US Military. 

      • That’d be cool if college actually meant anything. I don’t exactly see many illegal alien Hispanics majoring in anything economically beneficial, like business, engineering, science, mathematics, and so forth.

      • Rigo Avelar

        Illegal Immigrants CAN NOT JOIN THE MILITARY.  If you are NOT a citizen there are very few jobs worth taking due to the security clearance requirements.  Get your facts straight

  • No Shit Sherlock

    No shit.

    This was a Democrat bid to buy Hispanic votes at the cost of the taxpayers and legal resident students.

    • Hey you do realize that undocumented students and their parents are taxpayers as well right? 

      • LOL, you funny. The taxes that people earning $8 an hour (and who often receive their wages under the table to avoid legal scrutiny) pay are really keeping California afloat.

        Illegal immigrants receive free emergency health care, since our laws forbid denying care to anybody, regardless of ability to pay. They receive free K-12 education, courtesy of property owners who largely fund the schools (lots of illegal immigrant property owners, right?) They receive a massive tuition break already under AB 540. And the areas populated by illegal immigrants are disproportionately prone to criminal and gang activity, which requires disproportionate spending no police protection. Their native-born kids qualify for public assistance.

        You want to tell me that illegal immigrants don’t get already get more than enough from the state considering the pittance they allegedly pay in taxes? You’re a joke.

        • Rosa’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. She probably believes all the nonsense she hears from the usual suspects…

      • get your facts straight

        What are you talking about undocumented students and their parents dont pay taxes other than sale taxes. They dont pay income, medicare, property tax. If they had the ability to pay taxes then why would they need public assistance. Plus by the way get your facts straight. Over 90 percent of illegal immigrants get some type of welfare 

        • get your facts straight

          Also by the way how is someone who studies art history for example or other useless liberal arts major gotta contribute to society.

  • Guest

    After the police brutality this week, it is pretty clear that Birgeneau fundamentally does not believe in democracy.  So it’s no surprise that he has no qualms with forcibly imposing his views on Californians, public opinion be ****ed.


  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    Knowledge is the only instrument of production that is not subject to diminishing returns. An interesting research article called High Speed Universities is the solution to stop your job hunt. Search for it online.

  • “She said the racial divide is a result of a white majority unconcerned
    with educating immigrant children in California — immigrant children she
    said will eventually contribute to the state’s economy and prosperity.”

    Which is why they (by ‘they,’ I don’t mean immigrants–I mean illegal aliens, which is the population really at question) are mostly majoring in economically-useless grievance studies majors. Right.

    Also, whites are no longer the majority in California.

    • But who do you mostly see represented in government? What do the CEO’s of the top wealthiest corporations look like? White men. And they’re the ones who get the last say on things. Whites are the majority in terms of power dynamics. They have been for the last ummm CENTURIES. And it all began with the colonization (displacement) of Native Americans. The only reason why they “allow” a few colored people in higher positions is to pacify everyone, to not make them question the structure. There have been many studies that have shown that white people are 10x more likely to be hired than any other ethnicity. Which is why colored people are not acknowledged so much in higher paying fields, such as biology and chemistry. Whoever believes that whites don’t have a say in things, is pathetically ignorant.

      • There’s a different, far more obvious reason why there are few non-whites and non-Asians in fields demanding high cognitive capacity, but believe whatever makes you feel better.

        In extremely high-paying fields where minorities truly excel, like athletics or music, minorities are overrepresented as a percentage of the population.

      • Guest

        ” it all began with the colonization (displacement) of Native Americans”
        Try reading some real history.  Europe had thousands of years of conquest, subjugation, slavery, and exploitation before the discovery of America.  It didn’t matter in the least what color the natives were; they were treated exactly the same as Greeks, Hebrews, and Celts had been.

      • [But who do you mostly see represented in government? What do the CEO’s of the top wealthiest corporations look like? White men.}

        The fact that you don’t see many white men wasting their time on various grievance/victimization studies programs in school should be a clue…

  • Guest

    Well of course Californians don’t approve of it.
    That’s not enough for know-it-all Birgeneau to crank ahead and put this on the top of his priority list.  So much for being a “public” university.

  • “Jessica Lopez, an undocumented student”

    Why is ICE not paying her a visit and purchasing her a one-way plane ticket back to whatever country she springs from?

    • You disgust me. Most undocumented students are not here because they chose to immigrate, but were brought here before they were even conscious of their names. Now we have lived here, learned the language, excelled and been accepted at top universities. If we “spring” from any country it is the US. In the US we have become people, we have become americans, we have become students, and we will be the leaders of immigration reform. If you really want to spend government money on prosecuting a student who is attending classes rather than prosecuting the white collar crime that has ruined the nation, let that rest on your cold and miserable heart. 

      • I don’t want to prosecute anybody. I want to deport anybody who is here in violation of our laws; especially those who choose to revel in their status as violators of said laws.

        I’m sorry, honey, but just because Mexico is across the border from the US doesn’t give Mexicans any more of a right to be here than the hundreds of millions of people across the world who also want to be here, but can’t get in as easily because they lack the same geographic proximity. 

        This country cannot afford to open itself up to everybody who would like to come here.

        If your parents decided to invade this country (because that’s what it is when tens of millions of people from a single country choose to illegally cross the borders of another country) and you were given certain expectations by this act, be angry at your parents, not the hard-working taxpayers of this country who have to deal with, and pay for, the consequences of unrestricted immigration.