Republicans want immigrants 'loyal' to US, says pollster

Pollster Emily Ekins said on Friday that Republicans want immigrants who will ultimately be loyal to the U.S. once they become citizens. 

"Republicans want people who come to America who are going to love America, and be loyal to the United States, and that's something that citizenship confers," Ekins, director of polling at the Cato Institute, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmon's on "What America's Thinking." 

"It's a two-way street, right? Either benefits that are conferred by citizenship, but also the idea that you're loyal to the principals, as well as the laws of the U.S.," she continued. "If people feel like that is being upheld, they support that kind of immigration. Now there are some, obviously we've seen that come out in the past couple of years, that are just against immigration across the board." 

Ekins's comments come amid a nationwide debate over immigration in the U.S. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE made immigration a central theme for Republicans ahead of the midterm elections, and has taken significant action on the issue over the past month. 

Trump announced late last month that he would sign an executive order banning birthright citizenship, a move Democrats and some Republicans say would be unconstitutional. 

The president also took action to curb asylum in the U.S., signing a proclamation on Friday blocking certain immigrants from claiming asylum. 

— Julia Manchester