Most Americans see the U.S.-Mexico border situation as a crisis

Linley SandersData Journalist
August 18, 2022, 8:36 PM GMT+0

A record number of immigrants have been arrested while illegally crossing the border between the United States and Mexico, according to newly released U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data that was collected from October 2021 to July 2022. According to the latest Economist/YouGov poll, Americans (59%) perceive the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border as a crisis, with more Republicans (81%) and Independents (57%) than Democrats (45%) calling it one.

By 49% to 21%, Americans disapprove of the way President Biden is handling immigration. Americans are much more likely to point to illegal immigration, specifically, as a problem that the country is facing — rather than legal immigration. People are twice as likely to say illegal immigration is a problem in the United States (61%) as to say that legal immigration (31%) is one.

Where should people who illegally enter the U.S. across the southern border be sent while they await a decision on whether or not they will be allowed to legally remain in the U.S.? About half of Americans (48%) say they should be sent back to the country they entered from. About one in five want people in this situation to remain where they entered the U.S. (18%) and only 6% say they should be sent to other parts of the U.S.

Americans are generally split on whether illegal immigrants who are currently in the U.S. should be allowed to stay in the country and apply for citizenship (44%) or be required to leave the U.S. (41%), with 15% saying they should be allowed to stay in the U.S., but not become citizens.

- Oana Dumitru and Carl Bialik contributed to this article

This poll was conducted on August 13 - 16, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll on immigration.

Image: Adobe Stock by Andrey Popov