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Rasmussen Reports Weekly Immigration Index - Week Ending November 5, 2020

The Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index for the week of November 1-5, 2020 has fallen to 98.5 from 101.8 the week before, suggesting that prospective President Biden may be at odds with voters if he pursues many of his proposed immigration policies.

The Index is based on a series of questions designed to determine whether voters are moving toward an immigration system that encourages more immigration to the United States or one that reduces the level of immigration here. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

All surveys are compared to a baseline – set the week of December 2-6, 2019 - which has been given an Index of 100. A weekly finding moving up over 100 indicates growing support for a more expansive immigration system. A weekly index number falling below 100 indicates increased support for a more restrictive immigration system.

Crosstabstopline responses and historical data are also available to the public.

The Immigration Index will be updated every Tuesday at noon Eastern.

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Biden has pledged to greatly reduce the level of enforcement against illegal immigration, but in the latest survey, 40% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the government is already doing too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays. This is the highest level of criticism since mid-May. Just 30% say the government is doing too much. Twenty-four percent (24%) rate the level of action as about right.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) believe the government should mandate employers to use the federal electronic E-Verify system to help ensure that they hire only legal workers for U.S. jobs. Only 20% disagree, with 13% undecided. These findings have changed very little throughout the Index’s history.

Biden has said he will legalize the status of the so-called Dreamers, and most voters (56%) continue to favor giving lifetime work permits to most of the approximately two million illegal residents who came to this country when they were minors. This includes 34% who Strongly Favor it. Thirty-seven percent (37%) are opposed, with 19% who are Strongly Opposed.

The likely new president also has indicated that he wants to legalize all illegal immigrants in the country, but only 44% also favor giving lifetime work permits to most of the estimated 12 million illegal residents of all ages who currently reside in the United States, with 22% who Strongly Favor it. Forty-nine percent (49%) are opposed, including 29% who are Strongly Opposed.

Legal immigration has averaged around a million annually in recent years, and Biden has vowed to increase that. But just 18% of voters want to increase the number of new immigrants over one million. Another 18% are comfortable with one million newcomers each year. However, 50% believe the government should be adding no more than 750,000 new immigrants annually, with 34% who say it should be fewer than 500,000. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure. These findings, too, have changed little over the months.

Thirty-two percent (32%) favor current U.S. immigration policy which allows legal immigrants to bring in not just their spouse and children but also eventually other adult relatives that can include extended family and their spouses’ families. Biden has said he intends to increase the number of extended family members allowed into the country, even though 57% remain opposed to current policy and think legal immigrants should be able to bring only their spouse and children with them. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.

When businesses say they are having trouble finding Americans to take jobs in construction, manufacturing, hospitality and other service work, 65% of voters say it is better for the country if these businesses raise the pay and try harder to recruit non-working Americans even if it causes prices to rise. Nineteen percent (19%) disagree and say it’s better for the country if the government brings in new foreign workers to help keep business costs and prices down. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided.

President Trump has suspended new work visas for most foreign workers until the end of the year as a boost to the recovering U.S. economy. Biden has promised to increase the number of higher-skilled immigrants, but only 28% feel that Congress should increase the number of foreign workers taking higher-skill U.S. jobs. Fifty-nine percent (59%) think the country already has enough talented people to train and recruit for most of those jobs. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

The Census Bureau projects that current immigration policies are responsible for most U.S. population growth and will add 75 million people over the next 40 years. Most voters continue to want to slow that growth as they have in surveying throughout the Index’s history. In terms of the effect on the overall quality of life in the United States, just 32% want to continue immigration-driven population growth at the current levels. Forty-four percent (44%) favor slowing down immigration-driven population growth. Thirteen percent (13%) want to have no such population growth at all. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.

The survey of 1,250 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted November 1-5, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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