- (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
According to a recent poll nearly two thirds of U.S. voters support the executive order that President Barack Obama gave last week to give an opportunity to illegal young immigrants to remain in the United States and obtain legal status.
The poll, conducted by Bloomberg News, shows that 64 percent of American voters support the executive decision, while 30 percent are against it.
Obama's order would allow more than 800,000 undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. and obtain work permits, as long as they meet certain requirements, such as being in the U.S. for the past 5 years and having no criminal record.
Immigrants who wish to qualify also have to be younger than 30 years old, and have to have entered the United States before they were 16 years old.
After Obama's announcement Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said that the policy "is morally just, welcomed, practical, fair and worthy of celebration…I applaud the President for his decision to protect the innocent who currently pay the price for a broken immigration system."
Obama's policy was not, however, welcomed by some Republicans.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio has said that the new measure was a quick solution that does not solve the long term immigration problem, and he claimed that the move clearly had political motivations.
"He (Obama) is basically taking a very significant issue that needs to be solved in the long term way that's measured, reasonable, and balanced and decided by edict, by fiat basically to shovel it in the short-term, which happens to coincide with the November election," Rubio said.
Until recently Rubio was promoting a plan that was seen as an alternative to the DREAM Act, which would also allow undocumented young immigrants to continue with their education and to work legally in the United States.
However, after Obama's announcement, Rubio has said that he was going to cancel his plans.
Mitt Romney also criticized Obama's new policy, saying that the motivation behind the executive decision is based on politics.
"He should have worked on this years ago. If he felt seriously about this, he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate, but he didn't. He saves these sort of things until four and a half months before the general election," Romney said in an interview with CBS News.
Experts have said that during his presidential term until now, Obama has largely ignored the immigration issue, and in the run up to this year's presidential elections it had become clear this was affecting his popularity with important Hispanic voters.
According to the think tank Pew Research Center, 59 percent of Hispanics in the United States say they disapprove of Obama's work as a president, while just 27 percent say they approve of his work until now.
Another study by the same center has revealed that deportations under the Obama administration have increased to a record level over recent years, and has risen to almost 400,000 per year. This represents a 30 percent rise compared to the number of deportations during former President George W. Bush's administration.
Speaking to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials on Thursday, Romney made an attempt to reach out to Hispanic voters: "I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure."