Americans still support asylum for immigrants fleeing persecution, poll finds

As the Biden administration prepares to end the use of a Trump-era border measure that restricts access to asylum, most Americans continue to support protections for immigrants fleeing persecution and torture abroad.

By 55 percent to 23 percent, Americans say the U.S. should continue to offer asylum to people arriving at the border if they are found to be fleeing persecution, according to a new poll by The Times by polling organization YouGov.

Support for the asylum offer cuts across party lines, though Democrats are far more in favor of it and Republicans are more divided.

A much wider partisan divide divides Americans over the question of how many of those seeking asylum are actually fleeing persecution. Among Democrats, nearly half said most or all asylum seekers had valid claims. Only 1 in 6 Republicans held a similar view, the LA Times/YouGov poll found. More than 6 in 10 Republicans said few or none of the asylum seekers had valid claims.

The LA Times / YouGov poll surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,573 adult US citizens, who were interviewed online in December. 9-14. Results have a margin of error of 3 percentage points in either direction.

The poll also found that most Americans continue to support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that allows people who were brought to the United States as children to live and work legally in the US. The program is being challenged in court by Texas and Texas. several other republican states.

Half of those polled said DACA should continue, compared to 29% who said it should end. An additional 21% were unsure.

More than half of respondents — 55 percent — said that even if DACA ends, those covered by it should be allowed to continue working and living legally in the United States.

The poll results come as Biden administration officials debate how to handle asylum cases going forward.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, border agents have used Title 42, a section of the public health code, to quickly remove would-be immigrants at the border, often without considering their requests to asylum A federal judge has ordered the Biden administration to stop using the pandemic-era measure by Wednesday.

While the public supports offering asylum to immigrants who are fleeing persecution, Americans also think the process should move faster. More than 4 in 10 Americans said the asylum process should take no longer than 6 months; more than two-thirds said it should not take more than a year.

Asylum cases can currently take years to be heard in court.

The poll made it clear that Americans continue to have little patience for President Biden’s handling of immigration. Only 8% of respondents said they strongly approved of Biden’s immigration policies; an additional 25% said they somewhat approved of them.

That’s a significantly less favorable judgment than the general public’s view of Biden’s job performance: 40% of Americans approve, according to the YouGov poll.

Most Americans have favorable or neutral views on immigration more broadly, the poll found. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans think immigration makes America better (35%) or doesn’t make much of a difference (23%).

Similarly, most Americans support birthright citizenship, the constitutional provision that automatically grants US citizenship to all children born in this country. This view is widespread, with support that exceeds opposition among liberals and conservatives, white Americans and people of color, and Democrats and Republicans.

There is one big exception: people who said they voted for Donald Trump in 2020. Those voters are narrowly split, with 44% in favor of ending birthright citizenship and 41% against.

That finding is consistent with another survey finding: the stark partisan divide over whether immigration helps or hurts the country.

While just over a third of Americans say immigration makes the country better, 29 percent, including 52 percent of Trump voters and 49 percent of Republicans, believe immigration makes the country worse.

These anti-immigration Americans make up about half of the GOP and support major changes to the nation’s immigration laws.

Americans who believe immigration makes the country worse oppose birthright citizenship, 46% to 38%. They favor ending DACA, between 60% and 28%. And the general population is much more likely to say that even legal immigration is a problem in the United States.

More than 4 in 10 among those who believe immigration makes the country worse say legal immigration is a problem; Only 17% of the general population agrees.

However, immigration policy seems set to change with age. Millennial and Gen Z Americans, the two most diverse generations, have very different views on immigration than their older counterparts.

Americans 45-64 and 65 and older have nearly identical views on immigration; 38% of each group believes that immigration makes the country worse.

Conversely, only 15% of those under 30 and 21% of those 30-44 believe that immigration is making the country worse.

The difference between age groups is due more to changes among Republicans than among Democrats. Republicans under 30 are much more likely than older Republicans to believe that immigrants help the country. Forty-two percent of Republicans under 30 said immigrants make the country better.

Several studies have tried to measure the effect of immigration on the economy. The Center for American Progress, a Democratic-aligned think tank, he said that providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would increase the nation’s gross domestic product.

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