Americans deem immigration most important problem facing US: poll

Immigration has surged past the conduct of the federal government as the most important problem facing America, according to a new poll released Tuesday — the first time in nearly five years the issue has achieved that status.

The monthly Gallup survey found 28% of US adults were most concerned about immigration, compared with 20% who said the same in January — the only issue that has meaningfully increased in importance over that time period.

That group calling immigration the most important issue includes a majority (57%) of Republicans, 22% of independents and 10% of Democrats.

Immigration in the last month surpassed the federal government as the most important problem facing the US, according to a new poll, registering its highest level on the issue since 1981.

Last year, the government was the problem most often cited by Americans until December, when it tied with immigration for the top spot — and tied again the following month.

The cohort calling immigration the top issue facing the US makes up the highest proportion of respondents since Gallup began polling the question in 1981.

The last time concern about immigration approached the current level was in July 2019, when 27% of respondents called it the most important problem.

A record-high 55% of US adults also say “large numbers of immigrants entering the United States illegally” pose a critical threat to the nation’s vital interests, the survey shows. The previous high, 50%, was recorded in 2004.

A record-high 55% of US adults also say “large numbers of immigrants entering the United States illegally” poses a critical threat to the nation’s vital interests, the survey shows.

By party affiliation, 90% of Republicans list illegal immigration as a critical threat, along with 54% of independents and 29% of Democrats.

Gallup also found that 12% of Americans believe the economy is the most important problem and 11% said inflation. Just 26% of US adults describe the current economy as “excellent” or “good,” while 73% say it is “fair” or “poor.”

At the same time, 61% say economic conditions are worsening. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index has increased by 19 percentage points since October, but remains underwater with a net of -22 points.

On Thursday, Biden is traveling to the US-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas, to meet with Border Patrol agents, local law enforcement and elected leaders — and to call on Congress to pass a bipartisan Senate bill on border security. AFP via Getty Images

President Biden is battling a record-low 38% approval rating, the survey also found, with a personal low of 28% approval of for his handling of US immigration policy.

Biden, 81, met Tuesday with congressional leaders at the White House to discuss a looming government funding deadline, with funding for the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture, as well as the Food and Drug Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers, set to terminate at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has told members of his conference that they “can’t risk a shutdown,” but conservative Republicans want their leadership to “fight” against increases in domestic and defense spending.

A government funding bill is being considered this week that will likely fail to address border concerns, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said. REUTERS

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) dished on X about the leadership spending proposal, saying it would up federal spending by $30 billion from the previous fiscal year by “embracing spending ‘side deals’” and increasing the defense budget.

The measure “will likely pass” with more Democratic than Republican support, he added, but fail to address the border or reform warrantless monitoring of US citizens’ data via the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Roy and other fiscal hawks have urged Johnson to leverage side deals inked in last year’s debt ceiling deal to lock in domestic spending cuts if another continuing resolution is passed until the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30.

US lawmakers currently have a 12% approval rating, the third-lowest in the Gallup survey’s history.

US lawmakers currently have a 12% approval rating, the third-lowest in the Gallup survey’s history.

According to Gallup, Congress hit a record-low approval rating of 9% in November 2013 following a government shutdown tied to fights over the Affordable Care Act.

On Thursday, Biden is traveling to the US-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas, to meet with Border Patrol agents, local law enforcement and elected leaders — and to call on Congress to pass a bipartisan Senate bill on border security.

Among Americans, 61% say economic conditions are worsening. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index has shown a 19 percentage point increase since October, but it remains underwater at -22 points.

A $118 billion national security supplemental bill, which included military aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, failed to pass the Senate earlier this month, with a majority of Republicans opposing the measure.

Another $95 billion package passed the upper chamber, but Johnson has withheld it from a floor vote and said his caucus would “work its own will” on a national security supplemental with border provisions.

Both Senate and House Republicans ripped the initial border proposal for providing handouts to non-governmental groups that shelter and settle migrants in the US and codifying the asylum policies of the Biden administration.

Since then, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced a slimmed-down, $66 billion bill with foreign military aid and border enforcement funding before the lower chamber went into recess last week.

More than 7.2 million migrants have entered the US from Mexico since Biden took office in January 2021, with monthly crossings hitting an all-time high of more than 300,000 in December.

The Gallup poll surveyed 1,106 US adults from Feb. 1 to 20, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus four percentage points.

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