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Americans Want More, Not Less, Immigration for First Time
Politics

Americans Want More, Not Less, Immigration for First Time

Americans Want More, Not Less, Immigration for First Time

Story Highlights

  • 34% would like to see immigration to the U.S. increased
  • 28% would like to see immigration to U.S. decreased
  • Democrats (50%) most likely to want increase in immigration

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Thirty-four percent of Americans, up from 27% a year ago, would prefer to see immigration to the U.S. increased. This is the highest support for expanding immigration Gallup has found in its trend since 1965. Meanwhile, the percentage favoring decreased immigration has fallen to a new low of 28%, while 36% think it should stay at the present level.

This marks the first time in Gallup's trend that the percentage wanting increased immigration has exceeded the percentage who want decreased immigration.

Immigration1

Line graph. The rate of those who want immigration increase reaches historic high of 34%. 28% of Americans want immigration decrease, and 36% want immigration kept at current levels.

These results are from a Gallup poll conducted May 28-June 4 and predate the Donald Trump administration's recent decision to halt issuing any new H-1B and other worker visas through the end of the year. It also preceded the Supreme Court's recent ruling that invalidated the Trump administration's action to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, which offers legal protection for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. In terms of a public focus, the topic of immigration may have currently taken a sideline to issues of race relations, but just two years ago, Americans cited it as the most important problem facing the country.

Desire for More Immigrants Rises Among Democrats and Independents

Support for increased immigration is at historic highs this year among both Democrats and political independents. Republicans' views on increasing immigration have not changed much over the past decade. The rise among Democrats and independents coincides with a period of time when Republican leadership has attempted to limit immigration via physical barriers or changes to visa restrictions and de jure bans of immigrants from over 10 countries.

Immigration2

Line graph. Half of Democrats prefer to see immigration increased in US; 13% of Republicans agree. 34% of independents also favor higher levels of immigration.

Most Say Immigration Is Good for America

Nearly 8 in ten (77%) Americans think immigration is a good thing for their country. When measured in this more general sense, public support for immigration shows far less of a partisan divide, and both parties express a more generally positive view of immigration.

Immigration3

Line graph. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans say immigration is a good thing for America. This is virtually unchanged since 2018.

Bottom Line

Gallup's 2020 update on Americans' views about immigration finds that public attitudes toward immigration remain mostly positive overall, and support for expanding it is rising noticeably among Democrats and independents.

Immigration has been a key topic for President Trump since he arrived on the political scene. Yet many of his efforts, such as building a physical barrier across the border and opposing a path to citizenship for DACA immigrants, have failed to garner widespread support beyond his political base. But Trump may not be as concerned with getting majority support for his policies as he is in using the issue to energize his political base.

Trump's policies and rhetoric on the issue are likely accomplishing that goal but may also be serving to make people outside his base more positive toward immigration.

View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/313106/americans-not-less-immigration-first-time.aspx
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