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Majority of voters say Biden should implement stricter immigration policies: poll

A majority of voters in a new poll say that President Biden should implement stricter immigration policies to limit the number of people illegally entering the country.

Sixty-four percent of registered voters in a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill said Biden should “issue new, stricter policies to reduce the flow of people across the border.” Meanwhile, 36 percent said the administration should continue its current policies. 

The question comes as the White House continues to deal with a high number of migrants looking to cross the southern border while rolling back policies that were implemented by former President Trump. 

While Biden has not yet put forth a comprehensive immigration platform as he focuses on infrastructure and combating the coronavirus, the president has revoked Trump’s policy that barred immigrants from obtaining visas unless they proved they could obtain health insurance or pay for health care, scrapped the travel ban targeting Muslim-majority nations and upheld the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, among other things.

Biden this month also formally nixed the “Remain in Mexico” program, which forced asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico while awaiting the result of their case in U.S. immigration court. The Department of Homeland Security also officially banned family separations for prosecutions of illegal border crossings, another reversal of Trump’s policies. 

Beyond border policy, the administration has also put a premium on working with Central American countries to grapple with the root causes of migration, with Vice President Harris making a trip to the region this month.

Those moves have led to praise from Democrats who say the White House is taking a more humane approach to immigration, while Republicans have howled that Biden is making the border less safe.

Voters say Biden should have left in place the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Fifty-five percent of voters said the previous administration’s policies should have been kept, while 45 percent say they should have been undone. 

Overall, 67 percent of voter say that people who cross the southern border illegally should be sent back to Mexico, while a third say they should be released into the U.S. with a court date.

“The voters see the border as a growing problem and blame the Biden administration policies. The voters vastly underestimate the size of the problem and so once they learn it’s nearly 200,000 a month making illegal crossing their temperatures rise on this issue,” said pollster Mark Penn. “This is the administration’s greatest weakness right now.”

The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey of 2,006 registered voters was conducted from June 15-17. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. Respondents are recruited via voter panel providers on a randomized basis and their responses are then weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative poll conducted online, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags Donald Trump Immigration Immigration to the United States Joe Biden Mark Penn Trump administration family separation policy
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