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Rasmussen Reports Weekly Immigration Index

The Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index for the week of November 22-24, 2020 fell to 95.8 from 96.6 the week before. This is the third time in the four weeks since Election Day that the Index has closed below its baseline, indicating that voters want tighter immigration control.

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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Likely new President Joe Biden has pledged to greatly reduce the level of enforcement against illegal immigration, but in the latest survey, 41% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the government is already doing too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays. That’s the highest level of criticism since February. Just 28% say the government is doing too much, the lowest finding in the Index’s history. Twenty-one percent (21%) rate the level of action as about right.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) 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 18% disagree, with 14% undecided. Voters have consistently championed E-Verify, but this is the highest level of support in months.

Biden has said he will legalize the status of the so-called Dreamers, and most voters (58%) 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 33% who Strongly Favor it. Thirty-four percent (34%) are opposed, with 18% 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 21% who Strongly Favor it. Forty-nine percent (49%) are opposed, including 30% who are Strongly Opposed.

Legal immigration has averaged around a million annually in recent years, and Biden has vowed to increase that. But just 17% of voters want to increase the number of new immigrants over one million. Fifteen percent (15%) are comfortable with one million newcomers each year. However, a new high of 52% believes the government should be adding no more than 750,000 new immigrants annually, with 36% who say it should be fewer than 500,000. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.

Only 29% 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 61% are opposed to current policy and think legal immigrants should be able to bring only their spouse and children with them. That’s the highest level of opposition in months.

When businesses say they are having trouble finding Americans to take jobs in construction, manufacturing, hospitality and other service work, 64% 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. Just 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 25% feel that Congress should increase the number of foreign workers taking higher-skill U.S. jobs. Sixty percent (60%) think the country already has enough talented people to train and recruit for most of those jobs. Fifteen percent (15%) 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, 31% want to continue immigration-driven population growth at the current levels. Forty-three percent (43%) favor slowing down immigration-driven population growth. Fifteen percent (15%) want to have no such population growth at all. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.

The survey of 1,250 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted November 22-24, 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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