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Rasmussen Reports Weekly Immigration Index

The Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index for the week of January 4-7, 2021 fell to 95.0 from 97.2 the week before. This is the lowest it’s been since December 2019. The Index has closed below its baseline for the past five weeks and eight out of the last nine weeks, indicating voters are looking for tighter immigration control from the incoming Biden 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.

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

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

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New President Joe Biden has pledged to greatly reduce the level of enforcement against illegal immigration, but in the latest survey, 42% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the government is already doing too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays. Twenty-eight percent (26%) say the government is doing too much. Twenty-one percent (23%) rate the level of action as about right.

Sixty-five percent (65%) 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 16% 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 (55%) 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 32% who Strongly Favor it. Thirty-seven percent (37%) are opposed, with 18% who are Strongly Opposed.

The new president also has indicated that he wants to legalize all illegal immigrants in the country, and 42% 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 20% who Strongly Favor it. Fifty percent (50%) are opposed, including 31% who are Strongly Opposed.

Legal immigration has averaged around a million annually in recent years, and Biden has vowed to increase that. Eighteen percent (18%) of voters want to increase the number of new immigrants over one million. Another 18% are comfortable with one million newcomers each year. Fifty percent (50%), however, 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. Sixteen percent (14%) are not sure.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) 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-seven percent (47%) said immigration-driven population growth should be reduced to limit the expansion of cities into U.S. wildlife habitats and farmland. These are the highest readings recorded on these two questions since the tracking survey began.

Only 30% 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. Fifty-nine percent (59%) 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.

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, 32% want to continue immigration-driven population growth at the current levels. Forty-two percent (44%) favor slowing down immigration-driven population growth. Fifteen percent (15%) want to have no such population growth at all. Nine percent (9%) more are undecided.

The survey of 1,250 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted January 4-7, 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.

Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

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