Apr 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Politicized, polarized: How illegal immigration views diverged

Worry about illegal immigration, by party
Data: Gallup polls; Chart: Axios Visuals

Republicans have grown increasingly concerned about illegal immigration during the past two decades, while Democrats have been less consumed by the issue, new Gallup survey data shows.

Why it matters: Policy disagreements and competing political pressures in Washington reflect the nation's polarized reality: The country’s views on immigration are about as divergent as possible.

  • With the midterm elections around the corner, Republicans are leaning on immigration to attack the Democratic Party.
  • Not only does that put Democrats on the defensive, but it rallies the GOP base.
  • Roughly two-thirds of Republicans tell Gallup they're now concerned "a great deal" about illegal immigration. Fewer than 2-in-10 Democrats feel the same.

The backdrop: President Biden announced his plan to end the Trump-era Title 42 deportation policy on May 23.

  • It was originally introduced as a measure to deport migrants at the southern border without chance of asylum because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Biden’s decision has renewed a fierce debate about the best path forward for comprehensive immigration policy now that the COVID-19 pandemic is in a different phase.

State of play: The president met with House Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Monday afternoon.

They wanted to implore him to end Title 42.

  • "It would be a mistake for Democrats to shy away from dismantling this cruel plank of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda," Rep. Jesus “Chuy” García (D-Ill.) wrote in an op-ed about the issue.
  • Meanwhile, Democratic senators in Georgia, Arizona, New Hampshire and Nevada have begun distancing themselves from the president and his position.

Go deeper: Americans continue to report in polls they consider immigration among the least-pressing issues facing the country.

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