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4 things to know about the border crisis

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden participates in a conference phone call with governors affected by a snowstorm in the Midwest and southwest Feb. 16, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. |

1. Biden’s approval rating for handling immigration, border security

While the American people approve of Biden’s job performance overall, his actions relating to the issue of immigration have received negative reviews from the public.

According to a poll conducted by The Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center in late March, 61% of Americans approve of Biden’s performance as president. That number dropped to 44% when respondents were asked about his handling of border security, and 42% when respondents were asked about his handling of immigration policy.

While 74% of Democrats approve of Biden’s performance on both issues, overwhelming majorities of both Republicans and independents disapprove of the way the Biden administration has addressed the issues. Eighty-six percent of Republicans disapprove of Biden’s handling of border security and 89% of Republicans give Biden negative reviews for his handling of immigration policy.

Disapproval of Biden’s performance on border security stands at 62% among independents, independent disapproval of Biden’s performance on immigration was measured at 67%.

When asked specifically how they felt about Biden’s handling of the unaccompanied children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, a plurality (40%) of respondents disapproved while 24% approved. In addition to asking Americans to weigh in on Biden’s performance on certain issues, the poll asked respondents for their views on immigration policy in general.

The immigration policy that receives the highest level of support from the public is reuniting families separated at the border, with 65% of Americans believing that the federal government should make that a high priority. Majorities of Americans also believe that the federal government should highly prioritize providing safe treatment to unaccompanied minors at the border (59%) and increasing security at the U.S.-Mexico border (53%).

Forty-seven percent of Americans believe that the federal government should highly prioritize “strengthening policies to prevent immigrants from overstaying their visas,” 41% want the federal government to highly prioritize providing a way for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country and 33% see allowing refugees to come to the U.S. to escape violence, expanding programs that give illegal immigrants temporary work visas and penalizing companies that hire illegal immigrants as high priorities.

Just 29% of respondents believe that the federal government should highly prioritize providing a way for illegal immigrants to stay legally and 32% think the government should make it a high priority to deport illegal immigrants. Overall, 53% of respondents favor allowing immigrants brought to the country as children to remain in the U.S.

When asked if legal immigration should be increased, decreased or remain the same, a plurality (41%) wanted immigration levels to remain the same, followed by 29% who want legal immigration reduced and 28% who would like to see it increased.

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