As Congress continues to hold hearings on the southern border crisis under President Biden, the latest Fox News poll finds majorities favor both policies that strengthen the border as well as ones that find a way for more immigrants to come to the U.S. legally.
The survey, released Sunday, finds three-quarters of voters favor increasing the number of border agents on the southern border (74%) and the number of immigration judges to process asylums faster (73%). They also favor making it easier to immigrate (73%), which would presumably incentivize people to choose legal pathways to the U.S.
Slightly more voters favor allowing illegal immigrants with jobs in the U.S. to stay and apply for legal status (66% favor) than support deporting them back to their home countries (58%).
Voters are split on the idea of a border wall (49% favor, 49% oppose).
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“Attitudes on immigration and border security are nuanced,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who helps conduct the Fox News Poll along with Democrat Chris Anderson. “Voters clearly want to enforce the border, but they’re also realistic about handling those who are already in the country illegally.”
There is bipartisan support for several of the proposals: increasing border agents (58% of Democrats favor and 89% for Republicans), upping the number of immigration judges (86% and 60%), and making it easier to immigrate (87% and 59%).
That’s where the similarities end. Democrats (85%) are far more likely than Republicans (47%) to favor allowing illegal immigrants living in the U.S. to apply for legal status while GOPers (79%) are twice as likely as Democrats (40%) to want to deport them.
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Immigration/border security is the second most important issue to voters at 13%, trailing by a wide margin the economy at 36%.
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Biden receives some of his worst marks on immigration: 36% approve vs. 61% disapprove. That closely matches his ratings on the economy (36%-62%) and guns (36%-60%). His ratings are even lower on inflation (31%-66%).
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The president does better on foreign policy (43%-52%), national security (45%-51%), the Chinese spy balloon (46%-49%), and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (48%-49%).
When asked to rate the relative ability of the parties to handle the issue, more voters trust Republicans than Democrats to handle immigration (R +10) and border security (R +24).
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Conducted Feb. 19-22, 2023, under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll included interviews with 1,006 registered voters nationwide who were randomly selected from a voter file and spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.