With the current polarizing political climate, it’s easy to assume Americans on the right and left agree on nothing. But according to a Pew Research study, members of the public on both sides of the spectrum agree on one of the most divisive topics: immigration.
Where Do Americans Agree?
The study, conducted by the Pew Research Foundation from July 22 to Aug. 4, surveyed 4,175 U.S. adults on a variety of immigration issues. The study found Americans tend to agree, regardless of political party, that the current state of immigration is subpar, and there needs to be a way to improve it without jeopardizing the potential for legal immigration.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say the federal government is doing very bad (38%) or somewhat bad (27%) at handling the number of people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexican border. The study shows that just 33% say the government is doing a good job.
The study also found the public supports stemming the flow of people to the border. According to Pew Research, 74% say it is somewhat important to reduce the number of people coming to the U.S. to seek asylum. Also, 72% of Americans think immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally if certain conditions are met. This is consistent with the U.S.’s popular support for legal immigration.
The study found 86% of Americans think it is either very important (52%) or somewhat important (34 %) to increase the number of judges handling asylum cases, which could be read as a public response to the blocked up immigration courts.
Where Do Americans Disagree?
But, of course, Americans don’t agree on everything. The study also found plenty of areas where peoples’ opinions were largely determined by party.
Disagreements were often made over how the government should handle the increase in asylum seekers. Whereas 71% of Democrats say it is very important for asylum seekers to be given safe and sanitary conditions, only 32% of Republicans agree. Most Republicans (77%) think it’s important to make it harder for asylum seekers to be granted legal status, while just a third of Democrats say the same.
Overall, significantly more Republicans than Democrats believe it is very important to reduce the number of people coming to seek asylum, with 65% of Republicans saying it is very important and only 24% of Democrats agreeing.