Posted on August 8, 2022

Americans’ Views Harden Against Immigration

James Reinl, Daily Mail, August 8, 2022

Americans’ views have hardened against immigration, with 10 percent more people calling for lower migrant flows than did so two years ago — a sign of growing concern about chaos on the southern border.

Only 28 percent of Americans surveyed in 2020 wanted less immigration to the U.S. That rose to 38 percent in a poll released on Monday, suggesting frustration with the administration of President Joe Biden.

The increase was stark among Republicans, where those seeking fewer immigrants rose from 48-69 percent. There was also an uptick among Democrats, with a 13-17 point increase over two years.

The polling reflects growing public concern over chaos at the southern border, caravans and deaths from cross-border trafficking, even as many business chiefs seek more migrant labor to build U.S. manufacturing and the technology sector.

Pollsters noted that U.S. attitudes over immigration were ‘highly fractured’ and a roughly three-way split between those who wanted people flows reduced, increased, and those who wanted it kept at current levels.

‘The border crisis of recent years has sparked a highly partisan debate about how to handle the large demand for entry to the U.S. from Central and South America,’ researchers said.

‘That is likely affecting Americans’ views toward immigration generally.’

The survey was released after the first buses packed with migrants from Central And South America sent from Texas by Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, arrived in New York City on Friday, followed by another on Sunday.

Abbott, who is running for a third term as governor in November elections, has already sent more than 6,000 migrants to Washington since April in a bid to shift responsibility for border crossers to Democratic mayors and Biden, a Democrat.

New York Mayor Eric Adams condemned Abbott for a ‘horrific’ decision to force migrants onto buses against their will after meeting the new arrivals at the Port Authority bus terminal on Sunday.

‘Some of the families are on the bus that wanted to go to other locations, and they were not allowed to do so. They were forced on the bus,’ Adams said, according to Politico.

‘Our goal is to immediately find out each family’s needs and give them the assistance they want.’

Adams has declared a city-wide emergency and called on the federal government to step in as a major influx of migrants strains New York City’s shelter system. Some 4,000 asylum-seekers have come to NYC since May, Adams’ office stated.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has said her city’s shelter system has also been strained by migrant arrivals and last month urged the Biden administration to deploy military troops to assist with receiving the migrants.

New Yorkers living close to the city’s shelters for asylum seekers told they were worried about newcomers adding to the problems of crime, homelessness and drugs that already blight run-down neighborhoods.

‘We don’t know anything about them. We don’t know if they’re criminals. They’re refugees so they could be disguising themselves as good people,” said Juan Manuel, 69, a retired publisher who lives blocks from the shelter.

Manuel said he feared an influx of new asylum seekers would add to the ‘pretty high’ crime levels in the city, where a spike in shootings and murders in July fueled a 31 percent increase in the city’s crime rate over the same month last year.

Gail Harper, 85, a retired shop assistant, mum of four and now a great-grandmother, warned that her Harlem neighborhood was already overcrowded with ‘undesirables’ and homeless people erecting makeshift tents in nearby parks.

‘Why are they gonna have so many more of them come in here? And there’s so many homeless that’s out there now,’ Harper said, recalling when eh moved to the area in the 1970s, when it ‘didn’t have all the homeless and shootings’.

Frankie Michael, 38, an event manager, said New York was a ‘weird place right now’ after the Covid-19 pandemic, racial justice protests and deepening social ills and questioned whether the city could accommodate newcomers.

‘I just saw guys sleeping naked underneath the bus stop,’ said Michael, pointing towards Amsterdam Avenue.

‘I’ve seen a lot of homeless lately, more than ever, and in recent years this area has gotten a little shady, especially at night, with homeless people trying to come off heroin. And the east side is like Skid Row.’

Still, others welcomed the new arrivals. Columbia University professor Steven Cohen posted on social media that the ‘economic vitality of New York City is built on immigration’.

‘Let’s build on our immigrant tradition and figure out a workaround that enables new immigrants to get started here in New York,’ Cohen wrote on Monday.

Washington Post columnists Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent on Saturday talked up the benefits of immigration, saying U.S. businesses were struggling to fill jobs and workers from overseas could help ‘rebuild U.S. manufacturing’.

The Gallup survey found that Americans overall remained broadly supportive of immigration, with 70 percent saying it was ‘on the whole’ a benefit to the world’s biggest economy.

Biden entered office in January 2021 promising to reverse many of the anti-immigration policies of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump, but some efforts have been held up in legal fights.

Biden is still trying to end Title 42, a Trump-era Covid policy that saw migrants deported straight back to Mexico, but a judge has ordered the president to continue enforcing it.

U.S. border guards have made record numbers of arrests under Biden, including many repeat crossers.

Some migrants who could not be deported quickly to Mexico or their home countries under Title 42 are permitted into the U.S., often to pursue asylum claims in immigration courts.

Some 53 migrants died in San Antonio, Texas, after being packed into a sweltering tractor-trailer in June — the deadliest smuggling incident in the U.S. to date. Four men including the suspected driver have been indicted on an array of trafficking charges.