Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index
The Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index for the week of September 17-26, 2023, increased to 90.1, just slightly up from 90.0 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, 58% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the government is already doing too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays. Thirteen percent (13%) say the government is doing too much. Twenty-three percent (23%) rate the level of action as about right.
Significantly, 78% of Republicans and 64% 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 36% of Democrats.
Sixty-eight percent (68%) 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 documented workers for U.S. jobs. Seventeen percent (17%) disagree, with 15% 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 (50%) favor giving lifetime work permits to most of the approximately two million undocumented 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.
President Biden also has indicated that he wants to legalize all undocumented immigrants in the country, and 38% favor giving lifetime work permits to most of the estimated 12 million undocumented residents of all ages who currently reside in the United States, with 19% who Strongly Favor it. Fifty-six percent (56%) are opposed, including 38% who are Strongly Opposed.
Legal immigration has averaged around a million annually in recent years, and Biden has vowed to increase that. Fifteen percent (15%) of voters want to increase the number of new immigrants over one million. Another 18% are comfortable with one million newcomers each year. Fifty-two percent (52%), however, believe the government should be adding no more than 750,000 new immigrants annually, with 38% who say it should be fewer than 500,000. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) 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.
Only 28% favor current U.S. immigration policy, which allows documented 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 percent (60%) are opposed to current policy and think undocumented immigrants should be able to bring only their spouse and children with them. Twelve percent (12%) 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, 30% want to continue immigration-driven population growth at the current levels. Forty-four percent (44%) favor slowing down immigration-driven population growth. Eighteen percent (18%) want to have no such population growth at all.
The survey of 1,250 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted September 17-26, 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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