Most oppose Trump’s extremist views on immigration
Millions oppose Donald Trump’s extremist views on immigration. On May 1, 2006, millions demonstrated against an attempt to implement similar anti-immigrant legislation. That legislation was defeated.
Three-quarters of people in the United States think all immigrants—including those who entered the country without government permission—should have a path to legal residency. If they are convinced certain conditions will be met, this includes over 60% of those who voted for Donald Trump and 95% of those who voted for Hillary Clinton. The number of Republicans who support that position hasn’t diminished over the last two years (60% thought the same thing in 2014).
Almost half the population thinks the accelerated deportation policy of the sitting president is a bad thing—including 40% of Republicans.
Alarmingly, almost 80% of Trump voters support the “build a wall” line. (90% of Clinton voters think that policy should be defeated.)
At the same time, almost 60% of Trump voters think undocumented immigrants are just as hardworking and honest as U.S. citizens are. And—while any amount of support for Trump’s reactionary “build a wall” line should not be downplayed—only 32% of Trump voters think undocumented immigrants should be actively arrested and deported.
Support for greater immigration unfortunately gets much less support—and the confusion is greatest when those migrants are called “refugees”—or if the question is framed by elites in terms of lies around the supposed threat of “terrorism.”
These figures show that racist propaganda can sway millions of people to support policies that they otherwise would not. But they also show that racist propaganda against immigrants can be exposed and defeated—and why defending immigrants when they come under attack is so vitally important.
They show that a supermajority of the population can be won to a policy of open borders—particularly if labor and social movements actively organize to expose the violence of the U.S. government’s deportation and detention program, how it is connected to its policies of austerity and war, and why its claims that immigrants and refugees “steal” jobs or have anything to do with “terrorism” are racist lies designed to protect the power and profits of the wealthy, banks, and corporations.
Its worth saying that again: A super majority of the U.S. population—including a two-thirds of those who voted for Donald Trump—would support a program of amnesty and permanent residency for undocumented immigrants. In the face of compelling evidence and new experience, the most reactionary line around immigration is maintained only by a relatively small portion of the population.
With the right kind of politics and organization, that same majority can break the back of the next government on the immigration question—and ever other reactionary policy it intends to implement as well.