Poll: 41 percent wants less immigration

A new survey from Gallup finds 41 percent want immigration to the United States to decrease.

The Gallup poll released Friday found a 6-percentage-point spike in the number of people who want immigration to fall since last year. Gallup asked people about immigration, not illegal immigration.

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Thirty-three percent of people think immigration levels are fine at the present level, while 22 percent say those levels should be increased. 

While only 22 percent support increased immigration, that number has been trending up over the past 15 years.

In 1999, even more people wanted to see immigration rates fall, and only 10 percent said immigration should increase, according to Gallup. 

The new survey comes amid a heated debate over immigration and a widening humanitarian crisis at the southwest border, where thousands of young children are attempting to enter the United States. Most of the immigrants are coming from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The wave has led to crowded detention centers, with many children sent to relatives in the United States to await hearings. The Obama administration has said they will be sent back to their home countries. Critics on the right argue many will end up staying in the United States, while critics on the left say not enough is being done to help them.

Congressional Democrats are urging the administration to take additional steps to ease deportations in light of inaction by Republicans in Congress on legislation. 

The Gallup poll found Republicans are the most likely to say immigration should decrease, with 50 percent of the party holding that view. Forty-three percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats feel the same. 

Other polling has found a majority supports a number of components in the Senate passed immigration bill last year, which has stalled in the House. That included expanding the amount of visas for skilled workers. 

However, immigration reform — whether to deal with legal or illegal immigration — is unlikely to advance this year, ahead of the midterm elections. 

“Immigration is central to who Americans are as a people, and what the United States represents, and by and large Americans view immigration as positive for the country," Gallup wrote in an analysis accompanying the poll. "But deciding how many new immigrants to welcome each year can be controversial, particularly when unemployment is high, and seeming competition for good jobs already fierce."

The survey polled 1,027 people from June 5-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

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