Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index
The Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index for the week of September 3-7, 2023, decreased to 90.0, down more than points from 92.5 two weeks earlier. The Immigration Index has been under the baseline in every survey since Election Day 2020, and reached a record low of 82.3 in late March 2021. The index is about 15 points below where it was in late October 2020, indicating voters are looking for tighter immigration control from President Joe 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. An index finding moving up over 100 indicates growing support for a more expansive immigration system. An 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.
During his campaign, President Biden pledged to greatly reduce the level of enforcement against illegal immigration, but in the latest survey, 59% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the government is already doing too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays. Eleven percent (11%) say the government is doing too much. Twenty-two percent (22%) rate the level of action as about right.
Significantly, 81% of Republicans and 61% 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 39% of Democrats.
Sixty-three percent (63%) of all Likely Voters 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 17% 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 a majority of voters (52%) 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 27% who Strongly Favor it. Forty percent (40%) are opposed, with 23% who are Strongly Opposed.
President Biden also has indicated that he wants to legalize all illegal immigrants in the country, and 40% 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 17% who Strongly Favor it. Fifty-four percent (54%) are opposed, including 37% who are Strongly Opposed.
Legal immigration has averaged around a million annually in recent years, and Biden has vowed to increase that. Fourteen percent (14%) of voters want to increase the number of new immigrants over one million. Another 20% are comfortable with one million newcomers each year. Fifty-four percent (54%), however, believe the government should be adding no more than 750,000 new immigrants annually, with 39% who say it should be fewer than 500,000. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure.
Fifty-nine percent (59%) 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-six percent (46%) said immigration-driven population growth should be reduced to limit the expansion of cities into U.S. wildlife habitats and farmland.
Only 28% 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%) are opposed to current policy and think legal immigrants should be able to bring only their spouse and children with them. Eleven percent (11%) 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, 29% want to continue immigration-driven population growth at the current levels. Forty-six percent (46%) favor slowing down immigration-driven population growth. Sixteen percent (16%) want to have no such population growth at all.
The survey of 1,250 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted September 3-7, 2023 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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