Washington, DC – By all indications, these midterm elections will be driven by voter concerns about the economy and inflation and possibly abortion rights and gun-violence, with immigration a lower concern for most voters. However, immigration has been used as a fear mongering issue by Republican candidates and some polls indicate it is a top issue for some in the GOP’s base. While this tactic is being deployed by Republicans to agitate their base, the reality is that the majority of Americans continue supporting common sense reforms to our immigration system. Below, America’s Voice presents ten key immigration statistics relevant to the midterms and beyond – five data points on Republicans’ nativism in the midterms and five on Americans’ sustained pro-immigrant and pro-DACA views and the need for Congress to deliver a legislative fix for Dreamers and TPS holders to avoid an economic catastrophe.
Republicans’ Nativism in the Midterms
While immigration and border security are well down the list of top voting issues for most voters, Republicans have spent tens of millions advancing a dangerous and distorted narrative about the border to their base voters.
- 3,200: America’s Voice’s ad tracking project has identified over 3,200 different paid communications from Republicans and their allies from this cycle that employed anti-immigrant attacks, including over 600 “open borders” attacks, and over 600 that falsely equate migrants with the illicit drug trade.
- 4,000 per month: Negative mentions of immigration in right-wing media have averaged approximately 4,000 per month per Data to Disrupt analysis.
- 700-plus. The AV ad tracking project has found more than 700 examples of Republicans amplifying the dangerous “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracies in campaign messaging, despite these conspiracies’ direct connection to multiple deadly domestic terrorist attacks.
- 80-plus: There are at least 80 GOP candidates who have amplified the dangerous “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracies in their campaign communications and who are up for election today.
- $38.3 million and $51 million: As reported in the New York Times, Republicans “have poured nearly $38.3 million into more than 380 television ads focused on border security and immigration” during the October/November midterms’ homestretch. Meanwhile, the Stephen Miller-allied Citizens for Sanity organization has spent over $51 million in TV ads across 16 states with some of the year’s most vile nativist, racist and transphobic ads.
American’s Views and Congress’ Imperative to Deliver a Legislative Solution
Despite Republicans’ nativism, a strong majority of Americans express enduring support for immigrants and immigration, want long-settled immigrants to have the chance to become U.S. citizens and want Congress to deliver a permanent legislative fix for Dreamers and TPS holders – especially in light of the looming potential economic catastrophe.
- 74% and 73%: Recent Senate battleground polling of likely voters in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin conducted by Hart Research Associates on behalf of NILC Immigrant Justice Fund found that 74% of likely voters said they would more likely support a candidate who favors providing a pathway to citizenship to Dreamers and that 73% of likely voters support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. if certain requirements are met, including background checks.
- 70%: An August 2022 Gallup poll found that, despite the barrage of GOP messaging attacks this cycle, 70% of Americans think immigration is a “good thing” for the country.
- 61-39% and 57-43%: Recent Univision statewide polling in Arizona and Nevada, each featuring large Latino voter oversamples, found that voters had a strong preference for a balanced approach to immigration reform, touting both a pathway to citizenship alongside border security measures instead of the “border first” approach touted by Republicans. In Arizona, the balanced approach was more popular by a 57-43% margin (68-32% among Latino voters), while in Nevada, the balanced approach was more popular by a 61-39% margin (68-32% among Latino voters).
- 600,000-plus and 250,000-plus: More than 600,000 Dreamers with DACA status and more than 250,000 TPS holders whose status is set to expire need Congress to deliver a permanent legislative fix in light of GOP legal challenges that are poised to end the DACA program and the breakdown in settlement talks of the Ramos TPS case.
- $6.3 billion: As Bloomberg recently noted, businesses across the U.S. would face an estimated “$6.3 billion in turnover costs related to the end of the DACA program.” As Cecilia Esterline, an immigration research analyst at the Niskanen Center told Bloomberg, “the entire economy will feel the labor squeeze from workers losing employment authorization,” including tens of thousands of teachers and nurses who rely on DACA work permits.