Trump’s Harder Line on Immigration Appears to Resonate, Polls Show


A Pew study in February found that 70 percent of Republicans described the challenges at the southern border as a “crisis,” compared with just 22 percent of Democrats. Another poll last year from Gallup showed 73 percent of Republicans wanted immigration to be decreased. By contrast, only 18 percent of Democrats said they wanted the same. Republicans were also far more likely to see immigrants as worsening the country’s social and moral values, job opportunities and taxes.

While the nation has experienced waves of anti-immigrant sentiment since its founding, immigration scholars and lawyers trace the emergence of the modern rift to the 1960s. The passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 — which was influenced by the civil rights movement and aimed to abolish the immigrant quota system based on nationality, race and ancestry — prompted an increase in immigration from Asian, African and Latin American countries. It set in motion the national demographic changes against which today’s political dispute is playing out.

For years, a plurality of American voters said they wanted compromise from lawmakers: equal priority given to providing legal pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the country, as well as border security and stronger law enforcement measures. This was the case in Pew surveys from 2010 to 2018.

But in recent years, a majority of Americans have come to see the situation at the border as a problem, according to the Pew study in February. Most Americans — including majorities of both Republicans and Democrats — have given the Biden administration negative ratings in its handling of immigration. Matt A. Barreto, a Democratic pollster who works with the Biden campaign, said that polling should not be seen as a reflection of support for proposals like mass deportations, but that it does capture frustration with Washington’s inaction on the issue. Biden campaign officials say the administration has sought to address that sentiment.

“President Biden worked in good faith with Republicans and Democrats to negotiate a deal that would have delivered additional resources and personnel to enhance border security, expanded lawful immigration pathways and began fixing our broken immigration system,” said Maca Casado, the Biden campaign’s Hispanic media director. But Republicans blocked the bipartisan legislation twice, the first time after Mr. Trump vocally opposed it.

Despite the gridlock in Washington, that February poll from Pew also showed that most Americans agreed on policies to address the situation. About 60 percent — including about 40 percent of Republicans — believed that increasing the number of immigration judges and staff members at the border would improve matters. Nearly as many, about 56 percent, believed that creating more legal pathways for people to come to the United States would make things better as well.

Ruth Igielnik contributed reporting.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here