New Poll Shows Wide Support for Inclusion of Immigrant Workers and Students in Next COVID-19 Relief Package


September 17, 2020
CONTACT: Jose Magaña-Salgado (

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration (“Presidents’ Alliance”) in collaboration with NP Strategy Group presents new polling on immigration and education that indicates support for COVID-19 relief measures for immigrant workers and students. Findings include:

  • 57 percent of respondents favored providing all higher ed students with financial need, regardless of their immigration status, emergency financial grants that Congress passes as part of legislation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 55 percent of respondents favored the federal government automatically extending work permits for immigrants with permission to be in the United States in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 53 percent of respondents favored laws and policies that attract and retain international students and scholars to the United States.
  • A near majority (48 percent) of respondents favored allowing the federal government allowing new international students to enter the United States to enroll in colleges and universities that are fully online in response to COVID-19.

The findings were collected from the New Paradigm Strategy Group monthly survey in August from a weighted group nationally representative by age, gender, and religion. Rural Republicans aged 55-65 had the lowest support for all questions, and support was highest from urban Democrats aged 18-24. For the full survey findings, click here.

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director for the Presidents’ Alliance, stated: “International students and scholars are invaluable members of our local and academic communities. Americans know that the coronavirus does not discriminate based on citizenship, and our immigrant students need access to COVID-19 relief measures the same as anyone else on campus. As we wrote to the administration, we must ensure all students pursuing a higher education during this pandemic can continue to meet the goals of ensuring a strong economy, world class innovation, and cutting edge education.”

Jose Magaña-Salgado, Director of Policy and Communications for the Presidents’ Alliance, stated: “Thousands of work-authorized immigrants are working as front line essential workers to keep our country running during a pandemic, including 200,000 DACA recipients. Major delays at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, pandemic obstacles, and efforts of the administration to heavily restrict DACA applications make it very difficult for immigrant workers, including students, to keep their work authorization. The majority of Americans support automatically extending work authorization for immigrants during a global pandemic, and Congress should prioritize an automatic extension in the next COVID-19 relief package.”


The non-partisan Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings together college and university leaders dedicated to increasing public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact our students, campuses and communities, and supporting policies that create a welcoming environment for undocumented, immigrant, and international students. The Alliance is composed of approximately 500 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, representing over five million students in 41 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.