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Immigration: No Solutions, Lots of Political Impact

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Floyd Ciruli

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Democrats are being eviscerated by immigration. They appear to have no solution to the flood of immigrants at the southern border and its four border states (especially Texas and Arizona). Vulnerable congressional and senate candidates are panicking. Republicans are blaming President Biden and Democrats, and polls show immigration is likely to be important for the midterms.

Gallup reports that 58 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the level of immigration, up 8 points since the start of the Biden administration and by about four-to-one dissatisfied people want less immigration. Americans concerned about the issue is also up. Sixty percent of Americans say they are worried about illegal immigration (41% worried a “great deal” and 19% a “fair amount”) (survey of March 1-18, 2022), a decadelong record high, just below the 45 percent worried a “great deal” in 2007 when illegal immigration legislation was being debated in Congress.

Level of concern about illegal immigration chart


Highlighting the election impact, Republican concern is higher than its usual elevated level, with 68 percent worried a “great deal.” Sixty-nine percent say they want less immigration. This concern represents the history of the Trump administration’s focus on the wall and the recent emphasis of Republican governors and Senate leaders on the border.


Democrats, however, in recent years have lost concern about the issue. Only 18 percent of Democrats now have a “great deal” of concern. Only 11 percent of Democrats dissatisfied with the level of immigration want less. However, an equally small 15 percent want it to increase. Most of the political space is occupied by advocates for immigrants and nervous midterm Democrats who have made it nearly impossible for the Biden administration to craft politically acceptable solutions.

This poll was conducted before the Biden administration may allow the lifting of Title 42 (May 23), emergency COVID power that allowed border agents to turn migrants back without seeking asylum. It has become the main talking point for Republicans and alarm for Democrats today.