Seventy-two percent of Americans say illegal immigration poses a “direct threat” to the United States according to a new poll, and more than 50 percent disapprove of how President Joe Biden is handling border security and immigration as illegal border crossings are on pace to reach the highest rate in two decades.
While almost three quarters of Americans believe illegal immigration poses a direct threat to the U.S., the issue is considered to be of less importance when compared to issues like the spread of infectious diseases, extremist militant groups, China’s influence around the world, climate change and nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, according to an NORC survey, The Associated Press reported.
Overall, 55 percent of Americans polled disapproved of Biden’s border security. Republicans disapproved of Biden’s border security at a rate of 86 percent, compared to just 24 percent of Democrats. Sixty-two percent of Independents also disapproved of the president’s border security.
Americans’ opinions of Biden’s immigration management was slightly worse than that of border security, with 56 percent overall disapproving.
One of the most overwhelming aspects of the crisis at the southern border is the influx of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children. According to CNN, as of Thursday, over 18,000 children were being held in Customs and Border Protection custody, increasing by 1,000 from just a day before.
Forty percent of Americans disapprove of how Biden is handling the unaccompanied illegal immigrant children crisis, with 66 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of Independents disapproving. Just 15 percent of Democrats disapprove of the president’s approach; 40 percent of Democrats said they neither approved or disapproved.
The majority of Americans believe reuniting parents and children who were separated at the border, providing safe treatment for unaccompanied minors at the border and increasing security at the border should be high priorities for the Biden administration.
Issues like deporting illegal immigrants living in the United States, penalizing companies who fire illegal immigrants and creating a path to citizenship for children brought to the United States illegally are viewed as less critical overall.
Still, the majority of Americans believe illegal immigrant children should be given the opportunity to stay in the United States legally.
Fewer Americans support an increase in legal immigration now than they did two years ago, with 28 percent supporting an increase in March 2021 compared to 35 percent supporting it in September 2019.
From March 25 to 29, the nationwide poll conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago included 1,166 adults, with the margin of sampling error at +/- 3.6 percentage points.