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Most Americans reject Trump’s migration policies – survey

14 August 20190 comments

A large majority of Americans want a way for immigrants living in the US illegally to be able stay in the country legally, according to new research by the Washington-based think tank, the Pew Research Center.

Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 65 per cent, say the federal government is doing a very bad or somewhat bad job dealing with the increased number of people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Just 33 per cent say the government is doing a good job, the survey found.

The US public views several goals as important but more people give priority to addressing the backlog of asylum cases and improving conditions for asylum seekers than to making it harder – or easier – for asylum seekers to be granted legal status.

Overall, 86 per say it is either very or somewhat important to increase the number of judges handling asylum cases.

Nearly as many (82 per cent) say it is important to provide safe and sanitary conditions for asylum seekers once they arrive in the United States, including 52 per cent who say this is very important, the Pew study found.

Public sentiment in the US also emphasises stemming the flow of people to the border: 74 per cent say it is at least somewhat important to reduce the number of people coming to the US to seek asylum, and 69 per cent say it is important to provide more assistance to countries in places like Central America, where many asylum seekers are coming from.

Similar numbers among Americans agree with the conflicting goals of making it easier (60 per cent) or harder (53 per cent) for asylum seekers to be granted legal status in the US.

These views are deeply divided along partisan lines, with 77 per cent of Republicans saying it is important to make it more difficult for asylum seekers to gain legal status and a comparable majority of Democrats (79 per cent) saying it is important to make this process easier.

The survey also found: broad public support for path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. Nearly three-quarters of Americans, or 72 per cent, say undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally if certain conditions are met.

This is a modest decline from 77 per cent in March 2017, with most of the change occurring among Republicans.

It also found most Americans believe people who are in the US illegally are no more likely than citizens to commit serious crimes. Nearly seven-in-ten (69 per cent) said this. Large majorities also say undocumented immigrants mostly fill the jobs that American citizens don’t want (77 per cent) and are as honest and hardworking as American citizens (73 per cent).

It found as many people agree with the Republican Party as with the Democratic Party on illegal immigration. Among the public overall, 40 per cent say they agree with the Democratic Party’s policies on illegal immigration and 39 per cent agree with the Republican Party’s positions; 19 per cent don’t agree with either party on this issue.

Republicans are more likely than Democrats to agree with their own party on illegal immigration, the survey found.

The survey came on the day the Trump administration unilaterally declared its intent to disallow certain benefits including food stamps to legal immigrants and reduce legal immigration.

And meanwhile, over the last week, immigration authorities rounded up 680 undocumented immigrants in a record-setting operation, taking place in cities in Mississippi.

The raids are believed to be the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in US history.