A lot of keys were stuck over the last four years to discuss how Donald Trump had ironically made Americans more open to increased immigration, and there was some evidence to back that up. Gallup, for instance, found a significant increase in the percentage of Americans who favored increasing immigration between 2016-2020.
No poll is perfect, but Gallop's does have the advantage of asking the same question over a long period of time, so even if the broad wording of the question invites scrutiny, we can still learn something from the changes. That's what makes the Rasmussen Immigration Index poll compelling as well:
You can see the spike in the percentage of Americans who think immigration levels should be set at less than 1 million a year since January of this year. The spike is much steeper since Biden took office than in any of the previous months since the question was first asked in December of 2019.
President Biden entered office promising an immigration reform bill on day one. Although delayed, the White House did introduce an ambitious bill, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 (H.R. 1177 in the House; S. 348 in the Senate). The bill includes the largest immigration increase in history by a large margin. It would more than double average annual immigration to 2.4 million per year.
When the "Gang of Eight" attempted a historic immigration increase eight years ago, they benefited from a media establishment who ignored the immigration expansion and focused completely on the legalization provisions. Biden's immigration increases have already received more mainstream media attention than the Gang of Eight ever did (granted the bar is so low it practically rests on the ground). Given the Rasmussen polling, it will be interesting to see how attitudes will shift once the public becomes better informed about the details of the proposal.***For more discussion of immigration polling read this National Review article by Steven A. Camarota, Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies.***
JEREMY BECK is the Director of the Sustainability Initiative for NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, Mar 19th 2021 @ 11:53am EDT