More than half of Americans say they believe there is an invasion happening at the nation's southern border, and large numbers of people, both Republicans and Democrats, are embracing extreme rhetoric concerning migrants, a new NPR/Ipsos poll reveals.
The survey, released on Thursday, showed that Republicans are more likely to have negative views of immigrants, reports NPR, with three-quarters of the GOP respondents saying that it is either entirely or somewhat true that the country is "experiencing an invasion."
Since last October, the U.S. Border Patrol has set an annual record for arrests at the border, apprehending migrants more than 1.8 million times. About half of those have been expelled under the Title 42 health policy put in place by former President Donald Trump, but hundreds of thousands have been able to seek asylum.
Immigrant advocates say the word "invasion" has a history among white nationalists and fear the term could cause violence against immigrants, but the poll shows the word is being embraced by many, notes NPR.
Also according to the poll:
- More than one-third agreed that "native-born Americans are being systematically replaced by immigrants," with more than half of the GOP respondents agreeing.
- Almost half said "Democrats are working to open our borders to more immigrants," with more than 70% of Republicans agreeing.
- About one-fourth of the GOP respondents said immigration is one of the nation's "most worrying problems," compared to 4% of Democrats.
- The issue of immigration is much more urgent for Republicans than for Democrats. About a quarter of GOP respondents say immigration is one of the "most worrying" problems facing the country, while only 4% of Democrats rank immigration as a top concern.
- More than half of Republicans also said immigrants are "more likely" to use public assistance benefits than the native-born population.
Meanwhile, large numbers, including 60% of Republicans, say they believe most of the fentanyl entering the United States is smuggled by individual migrants, but NPR reports that experts say most of the fentanyl that is coming into the country is through ports of entry and brought in with large trucks and passenger vehicles, not smuggled by migrants.
The polling also revealed a declining view of immigration since a similar poll in 2018, when 75% of respondents agreed that "immigrants are an important part of our American identity."
In other changes since 2018:
- Almost two-thirds in 2018 said they favored a pathway for "Dreamers" to achieve legal status, but now, just a slight majority believes that, with a growing number of Republicans and independents disagreeing.
- Support for a border wall has also climbed since 2018, with 38% in favor then and 46% now.
- 60% of respondents in 2018 identified a question about whether "immigrants are more likely to commit crimes or be incarcerated than the U.S.-born population" as false, compared to 49% this year.
- 60% of respondents in 2018 agreed that most undocumented immigrants were in the United States for more than 10 years, but 43% agreed in the current poll.
The poll was held online from July 28-29 and included a sample of 1,116 adults, carrying a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
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