America Isn’t “Feeling the Bern” on Immigration

As much as every mainstream media outlet likes to fact-check President Donald Trump, the fact checkers were nowhere to be found on the day when Senator Bernie Sanders said 80 percent of Americans want amnesty for 1.8 million illegal aliens.

Senator Sanders had an interview last week on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He claimed that in the latest polls he has seen, “some 80 percent of the American people believe that we should provide legal status to the 1.8 million people in the DACA program or eligible for DACA.” Senator Sanders did not mention any poll by name.

That is a bold claim to make without actually naming any polls. The most recent poll Politico could find that was close to Senator Sanders’ claim was a Harvard CAPS-Harris survey from February. If this is indeed the survey he intended to reference, the Harvard-Harris poll, like most polls on the topic, ask the question in a vacuum, or with mass deportation as the only other option. But that isn’t the whole story.

First of all, there are only 690,000 current DACA recipients, not 1.8 million. The Harvard-Harris poll only asks about current DACA recipients, not those who may possibly be eligible but have not applied.

The survey also reveals that Americans believe that there must be policies in place to ensure against future illegal immigration. Furthermore, 84 percent of those polled want significant changes to our legal immigration policies, prioritizing the admission of immigrants on their ability to contribute to the United States, also known as merit-based immigration.

Here are some more numbers from the survey:

  • 62 percent think our border security is inadequate.
  • 79 percent oppose open borders.
  • 57 percent support some type of barrier on the border.
  • 70 percent oppose the diversity lottery that brings 50,000 more aliens into the country every year for no specific purpose.
  • 60 percent are against DACA recipients bringing their parents into the country.

Senator Sanders then went on to call President Trump’s immigration policies “heartless” and said the president is going in the “wrong direction.” The numbers from the Harvard CAPS-Harris survey say otherwise.

Americans agree more with President Trump than Senator Sanders on most immigration issues. Senator Sanders tried to cherry pick facts, but Americans aren’t “feeling the Bern” when it comes to his immigration policies.

About Author


Casey joined FAIR in 2018. He assists the research team with projects and writes for FAIR’S website. He previously spent a year working in journalism in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in Journalism in 2017.


  1. avatar
    Patricia Watkins on

    Bernie’s “80%” is probably excluding everyone except liberal Democrats. In his mind as well as Hillary’s, no one else matters except their liberal voter base. Every poll I have ever read or been involved in has shown that the majority want a secure border and controlled migration. And every comment section that I have posted on has shown that the majority want illegal alien migrants, in general, deported and blocked from being in America. Bernie is just throwing out numbers unethically to support his rabid liberal position on illegal migrants.