A Gallup poll conducted at the beginning of June revealed that 23 percent of respondents listed immigration as the top problem facing the United States today.
The number is the highest recorded for the issue since Gallup began listing it on its survey in 1993. It comes at a time when Democrats and Republicans in Washington remain at a stalemate over what to do with the hundreds of thousands of immigrants pouring through the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Republicans, along with the Trump Administration in the White House, have moved to speed deportations, but Democrats in Congress have resisted. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to push for what Democrats like to call “comprehensive immigration reform.”
If the number we’re seeing from Gallup carries any weight, it’s fair to say that Americans are frustrated over the government’s inaction on immigration. Government itself continues to be the chief concern among Americans, with 26 percent of responders telling Gallup just that.
The report continues to note that mentions of immigration are higher on average in 2019 than any other year prior.
“Concern about the government is broadly distributed across the three major partisan groups, with 32% of Democrats and 23% of both Republicans and independents currently identifying it as the most important problem,” Gallup reports. “In contrast, immigration mentions are far more common among Republicans (42%) than Democrats (7%). Twenty-one percent of independents name it.”
Gallup continues by noting that as many as one in three Americans want immigration levels into the United States decreased. 37 percent say that immigration levels should be kept at where they are now, and 30 percent want the rate increased.
“As their differences in perceptions of immigration as the most important problem would suggest, partisans have divergent views on U.S. immigration levels,” Gallup adds. “A slim majority of Republicans, 54%, want them decreased, while 31% want them kept the same and 13% increased. Democrats are about equally likely to prefer increased immigration (43%) as to want current levels maintained (42%); just 13% want immigration cut. Independents’ views essentially match those of all U.S. adults.”
If there’s anything to take away from this, it’s that lawmakers are simply running out of time on this issue. With an election year quickly approaching, immigration is sure to be a hot topic in the Democratic primary debates. The Trump campaign can also easily use this frustration to double down on its message that the Democratic Party isn’t interested in solving the problem.
The Trump Administration recently delayed a round of deportations from as many as ten cities across the U.S., a move the White House says was done in good faith to bring Democrats to the table to negotiate on a deal.
“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border,” President Trump tweeted.
The Washington Examiner reports that border patrol officials have apprehended 100,000 illegal immigrants each month over the past three months. Many of those detained have claimed asylum. The Trump Administration is giving lawmakers two weeks to put together a deal, which would in theory balance Republican desires for tougher border security measures, and Democratic desires for streamlining the legal immigration process.
If Congress doesn’t approach this issue aggressively, this 23 percent number from Gallup may climb even higher.