Pew study examines major partisan differences on US immigration

The survey found that US immigration views have remained largely the same since 2019, despite record high numbers of illegal border crossings this year.

 Nogales-Grand Avenue Port of Entry at US-Mexico Border (photo credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Nogales-Grand Avenue Port of Entry at US-Mexico Border
(photo credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

A new Pew Research Center poll has found that Americans remain strongly divided along party lines when it comes to immigration. 

According to the survey conducted Aug. 1-14 among 7,647 US adults, Republicans place particular significance on border security and deportations of immigrants who are in the country illegally, while Democrats place greater importance on paths to legal status for those who entered the country illegally –notably those who entered as children. The research was conducted as the rates of people apprehended for illegally crossing the southern border reaches skyrocketing levels. 

What are the partisan differences on immigration? 

US-Mexico border 298.88 (credit: AP)US-Mexico border 298.88 (credit: AP)

About three-quarters of American adults polled (73%) say increasing security along the US-Mexico border to reduce illegal crossings should be a very (44%) or somewhat (29%) important goal of American immigration policy. Nearly all Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (91%) say border security should be an important goal, compared with a smaller majority of Democratic and Democratic-leaners (59%) who say the same.

Furthermore, conservative GOP voters are the most likely to express strong support for more restrictive goals such as increased border security (82% say it is a very important goal) and increased deportations (58% say it is a very important goal), even compared to others in their party. Liberals are the least supportive of these restrictive goals while being the most supportive of establishing a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants in the country (44% say it is a very important goal).

US immigration views remain stable over past three years 

The views expressed in the August poll line up with how Americans viewed taking in refugees in a 2019 survey. However, there has been a slight increase in the share of Americans who say increasing deportations of immigrants  in he states illegally should be a very or somewhat important goal (57% today vs. 54% in 2019). There has been a 5 percentage-point increase in the share of the public who say increasing security along the US-Mexico border to reduce illegal crossings should be an important goal (73% today vs. 68% three years ago). This increase is largely driven by a 10-point increase in the share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who express this (59% vs. 49%).