Washington, DC – Below, find four key points on immigration polling and public opinion relevant to the current moment:
- 70-plus percent of Americans support citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers, and essential workers – including majority of Republicans
- The American public rejects Republicans’ “border first” excuses for inaction on citizenship, wanting progress on citizenship AND a safe and well-managed border
- Americans support the Democratic vision on immigration over Republicans’ vision
- Americans have grown increasingly pro-immigrant over years – a trend that accelerated under Trump and still persists
Point 1: 70-plus percent of Americans support citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers, and essential workers – including majority of Republicans
- Data for Progress: (July 2021): 70-24% support for citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers, and essential workers (including 53% of Republican respondents). Democrats (82-12%), Independents (75-17%), and Republicans (53-40%) all support, with intensity favoring supporters (34% “strongly” support while 14% “strongly” oppose)
- Similar margins of approximately 70 percent support for citizenship with majority of Republicans seen in wide range of recent polls, including Global Strategy Group, Hart Research, and BSP Research battleground poll (June 2021); NPR/Ipsos polling (May 2021); Public Opinion Strategies/Data for Progress (March 2021); Quinnipiac University (February 2021); PRRI (January 2021); American Election Eve Poll (November 2020); AP/Fox News/NPR Exit Poll (November 2020); and throughout Trump presidency (see slides 11-12 here)
Point 2: The American public rejects Republicans’ “border first” excuses for inaction on citizenship, wanting progress on citizenship AND a safe and well-managed border
- NPR/Ipsos polling (May 2021): While 79% of the public believes “the current situation at the border is a problem,” views are more complex than the GOP’s “keep em all out” position: 73% are concerned about “ensuring proper care for unaccompanied migrant children detained at the border” and 60% are concerned about “reuniting migrant families who were separated at the border by the Trump administration.”
- Notably, the same NPR/Ipsos poll also found strong support for citizenship: 71% of Americans support citizenship for “farmworkers and other essential workers” (61% of Republicans); 70% support citizenship for TPS holders (60% of Republicans); and 66% support citizenship for “undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children” (54% of Republicans).
Point 3: Americans support the Democratic vision on immigration over Republicans’ vision
- Global Strategy Group, Hart Research, and BSP Research battleground polling (June 2021): By a 10-point margin, Americans support Democratic vision on immigration and border over Republican vision in head-to-head polling. Even after months of “Biden border crisis” hype, voters prefer the Democrats’ approach (poll memo here):
- 55% say it’s best to “build a functioning immigration system that processes people in a fair, orderly, and humane way;”
- 45% favor “more border security, more border patrol agents, and crackdowns on illegal immigration.”
- American Election Eve Poll (November 2020): strong support for pro-immigrant narrative instead of anti-immigrant alternative. The 15,000-sample sized American Election Eve Poll found strong support across electoral subgroups for the pro-immigrant narrative instead of the anti-immigrant alternative. Preference for ‘fair and humane system’ vs. ‘enforcement and border security first’:
- Latinos: 79-19%; African Americans: 82-17%; Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: 69-26%; American Indians: 68-31%; and Whites: 55-44%
Point 4: Americans have grown increasingly pro-immigrant over years – a trend that accelerated under Trump and persists
- Gallup (July 2021): 75-21% margin – near record high support – on immigration as a good thing for America.
- Democrats (84-13%), Independents (79-17%), and Republicans (57-39%) each agree immigration is a “good thing.”
- Gallup has asked that question 20 times over the years and the current support for “immigration is a good thing” is near last year’s record high ever recorded and the 21% support for “bad thing” is near last year’s record low ever recorded (last year was a 77-19% margin).
- Pew Research (Summer 2020): pro-immigrant trendline unmistakable in recent decades. Since 1994, the American public has moved 66 percentage points in a pro-immigrant direction on the long-running Pew Research question about whether immigrants are more of a strength or a burden.
- In Pew’s most recent poll asking the question, 62% of Americans say immigrants are a “strength” while 32% say “burden.”