Where do Americans stand on immigration? They’re not as divided as you might think

Donald J Trump 2018.jpg

From left to right: Ms Theresa MAY, UK Prime Minister; Mr Donald TUSK, President of the European Council; Mr Donald TRUMP, President of the United States of America. Shoot location: Charlevoix – CANADA Shoot date: 09/06/2018 Copyright: European Union

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming, Senior Writer, Formative Content

If someone told you 75% of the population of a particular country believed immigration was a good thing, where would you think they were talking about? What if they went on to tell you 28% of the people of that country thought immigration ought to increase, would that help to narrow it down?

It’s likely at least one of the Nordic countries would make your shortlist, famed as they are for their openness and tolerance. Maybe Germany too, which, though experiencing rising anti-immigration sentiment, has accepted more asylum seekers than any other EU member state.

But according to the polling company Gallup, it’s actually three quarters of Americans who think immigration is a positive thing.

At 75%, it’s the highest it’s ever been since the Gallup poll began shortly after the turn of the century. This seems to suggest that the American public’s attitudes towards immigration may be at odds with the current US administration’s steps to limit undocumented migration, including the controversial decision to separate children from their parents.

Image: Gallup

And there’s more to this than superficial political opposition, as that broadly positive sentiment was found right across the American political spectrum – Republicans and Democrats alike.

In addition to a record high in support of immigration, there is also a record low in the number of people calling for a decrease in the number of migrants coming into the US. Just 29% say it should be decreased, while 29% would like to see it rise and 39% are quite content with the way things currently are.

Strong support for legal immigration

Gallup conducted phone interviews with just over 1,500 US adults (aged 18+) across all 50 states from 1-13 June 2018.

The pollsters have been asking the American public what it thinks about immigration since 2001. But this year, for the first time, it split the sample in order to ask one half a more nuanced question: “On the whole, do you think legal immigration is a good thing or a bad thing for this country today?”

The addition of the word “legal” garnered an even more positive response, with 84% saying it’s a good thing and only 13% saying it wasn’t. That compares with 75% good and 19% bad for those who were just asked about immigration.

While 2018’s survey delivered a record high, positive attitudes toward immigration have been the norm for Americans since Gallup first asked about them 17 years ago. In fact, the only year in which a majority of US adults from the two sides of the political coin didn’t agree that it was a positive thing was 2002, just nine months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Back then, slightly less than half of Republicans said immigration was good thing. But even then an overall majority of 52% expressed the view that it was good, thanks to the positive views expressed by 58% of Democrats.

When broken down along party political lines, Gallup found 85% of those who see themselves as Democrats and 65% of Republicans/Republican supporters view immigration positively.

For those asked specifically about legal immigration, 92% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans are in favour.

How Americans feel about immigration policy

Unless you’ve been studiously avoiding the news for the last few weeks, you’ll be aware of the US administration’s controversial “zero-tolerance” policy toward illegal immigration, which led to the decision to separate children from their parents.

When he campaigned for election in 2016, Donald Trump made immigration control one of his key policy areas, including a headline-grabbing proposal for a Mexican border wall.

The infamous wall is not popular with the majority of Americans either, according to the Gallup poll which found 57% against it, compared with 41% who are in favour.

A significantly larger majority of US adults are against another key immigration proposal, affecting the so-called Dreamers. Currently, children who entered the US as illegal immigrants are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) laws. The decision to repeal these protections could result in almost 800,000 people losing their right to stay in the US.

The Dreamers are mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. To qualify for protection under DACA they must have been younger than 31 on 15 June 2012, when the programme began, without legal immigration status, must have arrived in the US before their 16th birthday, and have lived there continuously since June 2007.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EP leaders call for negotiations on upgraded Transparency Register to continue

Three scenarios for the future of geopolitics

UN honours peacekeepers who ‘paid the ultimate price’, for the sake of others

UN anti-corruption body in Guatemala rebuts government’s reasons for expulsion order

The European Sting @ the European Business Summit 2014 – Where European Business and Politics shape the future

New UN bullying report calls for ‘safe, inclusive’ schools for all children

Only the Americans are unhappy with the ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine

“A divided Europe is not in China’s interests”, Ambassador Zhang of the Chinese Mission to EU welcomes Brussels

Global aid needed for healthcare

Rich economies not a promise of education equality, new report finds

Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries

How Hawaii plans to be the first US state to run entirely on clean energy

Have central banks missed the exit train?

Intel @ European Business Summit 2014: Better decisions now, the new business dashboard 

EU budget 2021-2027: Commission calls on leaders to set out a roadmap towards an autumn agreement

Assassinations in Ethiopia amidst regional ‘coup’ attempt, condemned by UN chief

Facilitating the access to finance and risk capital for SMEs and midcaps

EU Commission – US hasten talks to avoid NGO reactions on free trade agreement

Worldwide terror attacks have fallen for the third year in a row

Utmost hypocrisy emitted by EU’s energy regulation

‘Complacency is still strong’ over stopping genocide, says top UN adviser

6 ways to future-proof universities

EU Parliament and Council: Close to agreement on the bank resolution mechanism

Summertime Consultation: 84% want Europe to stop changing the clock

Press conference by EC Vice-Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis (left) and Jyrki Katainen, on the Commission's proposals in the framework of the financial union (Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: EU, 2018 / Photo by Georges Boulougouris)

EU Finance ministers agree on new banking capital rules and move closer to Banking Union

Here are three ways blockchain can change refugees’ lives

This is why Dutch teenagers are among the happiest in the world

De-escalation of fighting in Hodeida is key to ‘long-overdue’ restart of Yemen peace talks: UN envoy

The EU wants to create 10 million smart lampposts

This Japanese company pays its employees to get a good night’s sleep

Scientists are growing meat on blades of grass

5 ways to fast-track the transition to a carbon neutral world

The fatal consequences of troika’s blind austerity policy

Halt death sentences on children, UN rights expert urge Saudi authorities

Lack of investment and ambition means Youth Guarantee not reaching potential

EU-U.S. Trade Talks: European Commission presents draft negotiating mandates

COP21 Breaking News_12 December: 195 countries adopt the First Universal Climate Agreement

Can ECB’s €60 billion a month save Eurozone?

How the diaspora is helping Venezuela’s migration crisis

EU and China seize momentum to enhance trade agreements in response to Trump’s administration

A refugee from Syria cries out: “I’m not just a number!”

Juncker Investment Plan for Europe welcomed by European Youth Forum

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Microsoft says the internet is getting a little nicer

Lithuania should find its own way in the EU

Brexit uncertainty keeps shaking the world’s financial markets

Will the EU ever tackle the migration crisis despite the lack of political will?

Supercomputing could solve the world’s problems, and create many more

The Sting’s Values

‘Step backwards’ for Bosnia’s autonomous Serb region as assembly reneges on Srebrenica genocide report

The US and EU decisively oppose Erdogan’s plans for Turkey and beyond

“We need to accelerate our negotiation on the China-EU Investment Treaty”, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang highlights from the 21st EU-China summit in Brussels

This AI outperformed 20 corporate lawyers at legal work

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

‘We are nowhere closer’ to Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, than a year ago, Security Council hears

Currency Union might not let an independent Scotland join the EU as the “Yes” front now leads

MEPs take stock of the EU’s foreign, security and defence policy priorities

Some Prevailing Arguments and Perceptions over the South China Sea Issue Are Simply Wrong

‘Climate change is the battle of my life’, UN chief tells students living on the frontline in Fiji

Syrians ‘exposed to brutality every day’ as thousands continue fleeing ISIL’s last stand

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s