Poll: Majority of voters say there's a growing 'crisis' at southern border

Poll: Majority of voters say there's a growing 'crisis' at southern border
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More than half of U.S. voters in a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill believe there is a mounting humanitarian and security crisis on the country’s southern border.

About 56 percent of respondents said they believe there is "a growing humanitarian and security crisis" at the U.S.-Mexico border, while 44 percent said they see it as a “manufactured political crisis,” the poll found.

“The surge in immigration across the border has changed public opinion so that they now believe that the country is facing a national emergency,” said Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll.

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Trump and his allies have long argued that illegal crossings at the U.S. border with Mexico constitute a national security crisis. Earlier this year, Trump signed an emergency declaration in a bid to obtain funding for the construction of his long-promised wall along the border.

Democrats, however, have challenged that claim, accusing Trump of trying to manufacture a national emergency in order to fulfill one of his core campaign promises.

Meanwhile, 47 percent of respondents said current asylum laws should be "tightened to accept fewer claims," while 34 percent said they should be "kept as is," and 19 percent said they should be "loosened to accept more claims."

Over 103,000 migrants crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in March, the highest monthly number in years. Many of those crossing — about 67 percent — were children and people traveling as families.

The rising number of border crossings has irritated Trump, who last month forced the resignation of former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenDOJ to Supreme Court: Trump decision to end DACA was lawful Top immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role MORE.  

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,536 registered voters was conducted from April 30-May 1. 

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will work with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2019.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.