Americans don’t want to cut America’s immigration levels. You wouldn’t know that, however, from headlines reporting on a new Gallup poll which found that 60% of Americans are “dissatisfied” with America’s immigration levels. But both this poll and others actually show that most Americans believe immigrants benefit America and don’t want to see them either removed or prevented from coming.
While anti-immigration groups tout this new poll as evidence that Americans have joined their camp, the reality is that those groups have been bleeding supporters since 2008. Since then, the percentage of those who want less immigration has dropped from 50 percent down to 39 percent.
If you add those who are satisfied with present immigration levels with those who are “dissatisfied” but either want immigration increased or have no preference, you find that 54 percent oppose reducing immigration levels while 39% want the numbers cut.
A similar Gallup poll from this summer in the midst of the ISIS/Ebola-scares asked all respondents (rather than only the dissatisfied) if they wanted immigration increased, decreased, or the same. It found that 22% of Americans want immigration increased, 55% either want it increased or kept the same, and only 41% wanted it cut.
Gallup also doesn’t control for the kind of immigration that the respondent is dissatisfied with. Many Republicans want immigration flows regulated and oppose illegal immigration – and so they respond with “dissatisfaction” regarding current levels. But they would happily accept new legal immigrants. Others oppose permanent migration but would accept a guest worker program, especially if it ended illegal immigration.
Those findings are consistent with a Gallup poll this summer in which asked people whether they believe that “on the whole, immigration has been a good thing for this country.” 63% of respondents agreed, including 55% of Republicans. Only 33% of Americans disagreed.
Also revealing was a CBS News poll this month that asked whether illegal aliens should be required to leave or be allowed to stay. Only 27% of individuals polled said that illegal immigrants should be forced out; 69% said that they should be allowed stay.
Try as they might to argue otherwise, anti-immigration groups are wrong. Americans are, in fact, open to newcomers.