Posted on May 5, 2024

Americans Are Critical of Today’s Immigrants

Russell Contreras, Axios, April 30, 2024

A majority of Americans say they believe people who are trying to immigrate to the U.S. today have “worse character” than those who came 50 years ago, according to a new Axios Vibes survey by The Harris Poll.

The big picture: In the poll of U.S. adults’ attitudes about immigration, many respondents expressed romanticism about the past and strong skepticism about it today — a contradiction historians say is rooted in myth and fantasy about the nation’s immigrant past.

  • The poll shows that current anti-immigrant sentiment is partly based on misconceptions about immigrants committing crimes and seeking welfare benefits, both of which are largely untrue.
  • Republicans have made immigration a top election issue and many are increasingly using the word “invasion” to describe a record number of border crossings.

State of play: Political conflictsclimate change and more sophisticated smuggling networks are driving more people from Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Asia, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S.


Overall, 62% of respondents in the online survey of 6,251 U.S. adults said they believe the character of people wanting to immigrate to the country today is worse than fifty years ago.

  • 76% of Republicans, 53% of Democrats and 60% of independents said the same.