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Americans Are More Pro-Immigrant Since Trump Took Office

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Must-read Catherine Rampell column underscores that Trump has forced a referendum on immigrants – and Americans have chosen to side with immigrants.

Syndicated columnist Catherine Rampell’s latest, titled “Trump has shifted the country to the left — or at least away from his own views,” underscores a point that we have been making: Trump’s relentless racism, nativism and divisiveness has forced a referendum on immigrants and immigration – and Americans have chosen to side with immigrants.

Key immigration excerpts from Rampell’s column include:

“After nearly four years in office, President Trump appears to be doing almost exactly the reverse of what most Americans want. On nearly every major policy issue, he has pushed the country to the left — or, at least, in the opposite direction of whatever his own stance is … Trump has driven Americans, including many Republicans, away from his positions. Even — perhaps especially — when it comes to the issues most central to his agenda.

Take immigration. Through xenophobic rhetoric and more than 400 executive actions, his administration has made government more anti-immigrant. But those same choices seem to have helped to make the public more pro-immigrant.

Nearly eight in 10 Americans (77 percent) now think immigration is good for the country, the highest share since Gallup began asking this question two decades ago. Additionally, the share of Americans who say they want increased immigration exceeds those who want it reduced — the first time this has been true since Gallup began asking in the 1960s.

Polling from Pew Research Center has found that Americans have become more likely to say that immigration strengthens rather than burdens the country, even as Trump blockades immigrants on the grounds that they drain the economy and corrupt our culture. Americans have likewise become more pro-refugee since Trump took office, even as he ratchets down refugee admissions. And they’ve become more likely to say that immigrants mostly fill jobs that U.S. citizens don’t want. These increasingly xenophilic views have risen among Republicans as well as Democrats.”

In addition to the Gallup and Pew Research polls cited in Rampell’s column, this week’s release of PRRI’s annual, large-sample “American Values Surveypoll finds 80-19% support for legal status for undocumented immigrants, includes 64% for citizenship, and strong opposition to Trump policies on Dreamers, family separation, refugee admissions, and the border wall. 

And a host of other recent polls find that citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the core of the Biden-Harris vision on immigration, is supported by the vast majority of voters (see a round-up of recent polls here), including by approximately 3:1 margins in recent NYTimes/Siena College polls in purple-red states such as Georgia, Iowa, and Texas

Real-world electoral examples echo the public opinion findings. Ever since Trump took office, running hard on nativism has been failing and backfiring on Republicans across the country, including in the 2018 midterms when Trump’s “caravans-and-criminals” homestretch demagoguery led to the biggest midterm defeat in American history. 

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice: 

Election after election and poll after poll keep finding the same thing: Americans increasingly reject Trump’s racism and xenophobia. While nativism may play well in the cul-de-sac of Trump’s core supporters, strong majorities of the American people are pro-immigrant and increasingly so. This is why Trump’s immigrant-bashing is costing him and fellow Republicans more support than it attracts, up and down the ticket.