Most favor hiring more border patrol agents and immigration judges  

Seventy-nine percent of Republicans and 54% of Democrats favor hiring more border patrol agents. There is much less support for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

March 29, 2024 

The public is supportive of several immigration and border security policies to address the situation at the U.S./Mexico border. Hiring more border patrol agents is supported by about two-thirds of adults, including about 79% of Republicans, 54% of Democrats, and 56% of independents. Adding additional immigration judges and court personnel is popular among both Democrats and Republicans, but few independents agree.

About half of adults want to reduce the number of immigrants who can seek asylum in the United States, but there’s a much bigger partisan divide with Republicans twice as likely to support that approach.  A wall is the least popular and most polarizing option.  Only 42% of Americans think issues at the border should be addressed by building a wall, including 77% of Republicans but only 12% of Democrats and 40% of independents.

Overall, 68% disapprove of how Joe Biden is handling immigration and 31% approve. Fifty-six percent of Democrats approve compared to just 9% of Republicans and 20% of independents.

Roughly half of adults blame Biden and Congressional Democrats for the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. Republicans are more likely to blame their political opponents for the problems at the border than Democrats. Less than half of independents blame either the Republicans or the Democrats for the current border situation.

Fifty-eight percent of adults rank immigration as an extremely or very important issue to them personally, including 75% of Republicans, 52% of independents and 46% of Democrats. However, immigration is seen as less important than the economy, healthcare, crime, or gun policy, and is tied with abortion. Among the issues asked about, immigration is the lowest ranked priority for Democrats. 

Most adults say immigrants have had a major impact on the country in the last five years. Fewer say immigration has had a major impact on their local community. Republicans are more likely than Democrats or independents to say immigrants have had a major impact on the country.

Sixty percent feel the country’s diversity makes the United States stronger and only 11% think it makes the country weaker. Democrats are about twice as likely as Republicans to believe that diversity makes the country stronger (90% vs 43%). Forty-three percent of independents think diversity makes the country stronger.

About half of adults say that the ability for people to come from other places in the world to escape violence or find economic opportunities is extremely or very important to the United States’ identity as a nation. Democrats are more likely to say accepting immigrants is important to the nation’s identity than Republicans.

Democrats are more inclined to say immigration – whether legal or illegal — is a positive for the country, Republicans tend to regard it negatively. So Republicans are more likely than Democrats to see risks when immigrants come to the country, although they’re more concerned about people who come illegally than people who come legally.

The nationwide poll was conducted March 21-25, 2024 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,282 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.8 percentage points.

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