New Immigration Polls Aren’t Going Biden’s Way



New York Times article says polls showed public opinion “grew considerably more favorable to immigration” during the Trump administration. This trend – if it ever was a trend — isn’t holding up now that Joe Biden is in the White House.

The Rasmussen Immigration Index hit a record low last month, indicating that American voters want more robust enforcement. The index has declined over eight straight survey periods since the November election.

Relying on older Gallup polling, the Times piece argues that “the country largely objected to President Donald Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants, and in fact grew considerably more favorable to immigration over the course of his administration.”

The Times’ Giovanni Russonello acknowledges, however, that Trump’s policies actually rated higher than those of his predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush. According to Gallup, 33 percent of respondents said Trump “made progress” on immigration, compared with 27 percent for Obama and just 14 percent for Bush.

None of those numbers are great, of course. And in Trump’s case, his abrasive personality did not further the cause of immigration enforcement. Now Americans are reacting to a president who may be personally more likeable, but whose immigration policies are toxic. It’s important to distinguish between the message and the messenger.

As Biden’s sweeping amnesty proposal (controversial even within his own party) and dismantling of enforcement programs combine to create chaos at the southern border and beyond, it’s difficult to see how the new administration is making “progress.”

This week, a Harvard-Harris poll showed 55 percent of respondents opposed Biden’s decision to “[r]educe the deportation of those here illegally who have committed crimes such as DUIs that are not national security related.” Also: 67 percent reject the revival of “catch and release” policies, and want illegal aliens “turned back to Mexico.”

Attempting to tamp down public unease, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejando Mayorkas on Monday declared there was no “crisis” at the border. But on Tuesday came reports that the administration needed 20,000 beds to accommodate an expected wave of more than 100,000 unaccompanied minors this fiscal year.

Note to White House: Hard numbers and disturbing optics carry more weight in opinion polls than glib and easily refuted denials.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

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