Poll: More Americans in Favor of Current Immigration Levels

FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2018, file photo, a banner to welcome immigrants hangs over the main entrance to the Denver City and County Building. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

(CN) – For the first time in 14 years, the number of Americans who want immigration levels to stay the same outnumber those who say it should decrease, according to a new poll.

The General Social Survey results released Tuesday show that 41 percent of those polled said the number of immigrants to the U.S. should remain the same, compared to 34 percent who said it should be reduced.

The new poll data shows a remarkable change from the last time the question was asked. In 2016, 41 percent said immigration numbers should decrease and 39 percent said they were fine with current numbers, according to an analysis of the data by survey staff and The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Additionally, the number of Americans who would like to see more immigration jumped from 17 percent three years ago to 23 percent in 2018, the year the poll was taken.

The biennial survey, which has polled Americans on societal issues since 1972, found that attitudes about immigration have begun to shift along partisan lines.

“While few say immigration should increase, nearly three times as many Democrats as Republicans would like to see more immigrants allowed into the country according to the 2018 GSS survey,” the pollsters said. “And Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to say immigration should be reduced.”

President Donald Trump has enacted a number of zero tolerance immigration policies that he says is meant to crack down on illegal immigration. The president took ownership of the country’s longest government shutdown over funding for a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Though President Trump might be playing to his base, the poll found attitudes among the GOP have slightly shifted. While 52 percent of Republicans polled in 2018 said they wanted a reduction of immigration, that number is lower than 2016 when 62 percent said the same.

The survey team also examined if there was a difference of opinion based on race. The poll found that whites are more supportive of reducing immigration, while blacks and Hispanics are more supportive of maintaining the status quo or increasing immigration numbers.

The survey was conducted April 12 through Nov. 10, 2018 with 2,348 American adults and margins of error between plus or minus 2.2 to 3.1 percent.

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