More Americans dissatisfied with immigration level: Gallup

Dissatisfaction with current immigration levels spiked in January as dissatisfaction among Republican respondents surged in Gallup’s periodic Mood of the Nation poll.

According to the poll, 58 percent of all Americans are dissatisfied with current immigration levels.

Of that group, 35 percent of respondents want immigration levels decreased, 9 percent say they want levels increased and 14 percent say they are dissatisfied with current levels but they don’t want immigration levels to increase or decrease.

The number of respondents who said they want decreased immigration rose sharply from 2021, when only 19 percent of respondents said they wanted reduced immigration, the lowest level since Gallup started asking the question in 2001.

January’s 35 percent number is the highest since 2017, which followed a peak in anti-immigration sentiment in 2016.

The rise in immigration dissatisfaction was almost entirely driven by Republican respondents, 87 percent of whom said they are dissatisfied with current levels of immigration.

That level is the highest ever recorded by Gallup, and a significant jump from 2021, when only 19 percent of Republicans said they were dissatisfied with current immigration levels.

Among Democrats, 40 percent said they’re dissatisfied with current levels, a drop from 47 percent in 2021; 55 percent of independents said they’re dissatisfied, up from 49 percent in 2021.

The partisan split is also clear in the number of dissatisfied respondents who say immigration should increase, decrease or remain the same.

Among Republicans, only 3 percent are dissatisfied and say immigration levels should increase, while 69 percent say levels should decrease, a significant jump from 2021, when only 40 percent Republicans called for immigration reductions.

Democrats saw a similar shift, with 15 percent saying they are dissatisfied and want higher levels of immigration, down from 28 percent the two years prior.

Still, 52 percent of Democrats said they’re satisfied with current levels, and only 11 percent said they want to see reduced immigration.

And nearly a third of independents, 32 percent, say they are dissatisfied with current levels and want to see less immigration, while 34 percent say they are content with current levels.

While dissatisfaction with current levels of immigration surged, it’s unclear whether Americans by and large know how many people enter the country — legally or illegally — every year.

Still, immigration news during President Biden’s first year in office was driven by images and reports of encounters with migrants at the border.

Last year saw record numbers of encounters between U.S. officials and migrants at the southern border, but most researchers agree that the number of undocumented migrants making it into the country is at a historical low.

Research by the Migration Policy Institute found that in fiscal 2021, around half a million migrants successfully entered the United States, despite the 1.7 million encounters between migrants and officials at the border and ports of entry.

In 2000, a comparable year for unauthorized border crossing attempts, more than 2 million people are estimated to have successfully made their way into the United States.

And while legal immigration numbers for 2021 have not yet been released, immigration to the United States took a dip with the pandemic in 2020 and most likely did not recover the following year.

In 2018 and 2019, the U.S. government issued about 1 million legal permanent resident permits — also known as green cards — and only issued slightly more than 700,000 in 2020.

The trend likely continued in 2021, as the Biden administration failed to deliver more than 200,000 green cards authorized by Congress due to slowdowns caused by the pandemic and restructuring after the Trump administration.

The Gallup poll interviewed 811 adults in all 50 states, with a margin of error or plus minus 4 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. 

Tags Immigration Joe Biden

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