Polling News

Public Sentiment On Immigration Debate

June 21, 2018

What do Americans think of the debate over family detainment and separation at the border?  According to a recent CBS News poll, opposition to the family separation policy crosses party lines.  Sixty-seven percent of Americans say the “separation of parents and children is unacceptable,” while only 17% say it is acceptable.  Looking at political party breakdown, 39% of Republicans say it is unacceptable while 36% say it is acceptable; 90% of Democrats say it is unacceptable while 5% say it is acceptable; and 66% of Independents say it is unacceptable while 16% say it is acceptable.  Very few Americans are in the dark on the issue – only 16% overall say they do not have an opinion and/or have never heard of it.

Officials from both parties spoke out against this policy, from liberal Democrats to conservative Republicans like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former First Lady Laura Bush.  Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to end the family separation policy and instead detain families "where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources." 

A recent poll from The Economist/YouGov, found Americans support that course of action.  When asked, “Which policy do you prefer for how to handle families that are stopped for crossing the border into the United States without proper documentation?” 44% say “Hold families together in family detention centers until an immigration hearing is held at a later date,” including 47% of Republicans, 49% of Democrats, and 39% of Independents.  No other option broke 20%.

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