With President Joe Biden at the helm, an increasing number of Americans are worried about illegal immigration — and the concern extends across party lines.
According to a new poll from Pew Research Center, nearly half of Americans surveyed — a full 48% — now consider illegal immigration to be a “very big problem.”
The figure marks a dramatic shift since last June, when just 28% of Pew’s respondents felt the same under Donald Trump’s presidency.
Crunching the numbers
The nearly half of Americans who now see illegal immigration as a “very big problem” includes nearly three-quarters of self-identified Republicans, or 72% — a 29-point increase since last June.
Of course, a change wasn’t just seen among those on the right side of the political aisle.
Among Democrats, 29% told Pew researchers that they feel illegal migration is a “very big problem,” 14 points higher than the 15% who said the same in June 2020.
The latest poll, conducted between April 5–11, 2021, surveyed 5,109 American adults, Pew said. The results follow news of more than 171,000 migrants crossing the nation’s southern border in March, the highest number in a single month since George W. Bush’s presidency, according to reports.
In addition, more than 20,000 unaccompanied minors are currently in federal custody, The New York Times reports, and nearly 19,000 crossed into the U.S. last month — a record-breaking number.
Biden to blame?
The Department of Homeland Security now estimates that between 500,000 and 800,000 migrants will arrive in family units by the end of 2021 — an unfathomable figure, especially considering the current situation at the border.
Many Republicans have taken to blaming Biden and his policies for the crisis; in his first week in office, the president halted the construction of a wall at the southern border and put on a pause on deportations, reports noted.
Since then, Biden has also reinstated the Obama-era “catch and release” policy, which allows undocumented migrants seeking asylum to remain in the U.S. while their claims are processed, a change from the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” rule.
Despite increased concerns with regard to illegal immigration, President Biden’s approval rating has remained relatively strong. In Pew’s latest poll, 59% of Americans said they felt Biden was handling the presidency well. Thirty-nine percent disagreed.