Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index
The Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index for the week of February 14-18, 2021 fell to 86.0, down from 88.3 two weeks earlier. This is the lowest it’s been since the Immigration Index began in December 2019, and the second consecutive survey in which the index has reached a new record low. The Immigration Index has been under the baseline in eight consecutive surveys. Since the week before the November election, the index has fallen by nearly 15 points, indicating voters are looking for tighter immigration control from President Biden’s administration.
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.
The Immigration Index will be updated every other Tuesday at noon Eastern.
New President Joe Biden has pledged to greatly reduce the level of enforcement against illegal immigration, but in the latest survey, 55% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the government is already doing too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays. Eighteen percent (18%) say the government is doing too much. Nineteen percent (19%) rate the level of action as about right.
Significantly, 71% of Republicans and 63% of voters not affiliated with either major party say the government is not doing enough to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays, as do 34% of Democrats.
Sixty-nine percent (69%) 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. Nineteen percent (19%) disagree, with 13% undecided. Voters have consistently championed E-Verify throughout the history of the Immigration Index.
Biden has said he will legalize the status of the so-called Dreamers, and most voters (50%) 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 28% who Strongly Favor it. Forty-three percent (43%) are opposed, with 25% who are Strongly Opposed.
The new president also has indicated that he wants to legalize all illegal immigrants in the country, and 39% 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 18% who Strongly Favor it. Fifty-four percent (54%) are opposed, including 36% who are Strongly Opposed.
Legal immigration has averaged around a million annually in recent years, and Biden has vowed to increase that. Thirteen percent (13%) of voters want to increase the number of new immigrants over one million. Another 16% are comfortable with one million newcomers each year. Fifty-seven percent (57%), however, believe the government should be adding no more than 750,000 new immigrants annually, with 43% who say it should be fewer than 500,000. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.
Sixty-four percent (64%) said it’s better to raise pay and try harder to recruit non-working Americans than to bring in new foreign workers in the construction, manufacturing and service industries. Forty-five percent (45%) said immigration-driven population growth should be reduced to limit the expansion of cities into U.S. wildlife habitats and farmland.
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. Sixty-one percent (61%) remain opposed to current policy and think legal immigrants should be able to bring only their spouse and children with them. Ten percent (10%) are undecided.
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, 27% want to continue immigration-driven population growth at the current levels. Forty-two percent (42%) favor slowing down immigration-driven population growth. Twenty-one percent (21%) want to have no such population growth at all. Ten percent (10%) more are undecided.
The survey of 1,250 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted February 14-18, 2021 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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