With all the conflicting gusts of rhetoric that swirl these days around the topic of immigration — legal and otherwise — I’ll bet you didn’t expect this new poll:
About half of Americans believes immigrants are good for the U.S. economy and benefit the country.
A good deal of Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign last year centered on blocking illegal immigrants from entering this country and deporting those already here. The debate often centered though on concerns that immigrants of some kind were taking jobs from American citizens.
But poof! In a random survey of 1,009 adults earlier this month Gallup found 49% believe immigrants actually help the economy by providing lower-cost labor. That outweighs the 40% who fear immigrants drive down wages. This is quite a contrast from the early days of the Bill Clinton presidency in 1993 when about two-thirds of American adults thought immigrants did more harm than good for the economy.
And, strikingly, the new findings are almost an exact reversal of those from the last time Gallup asked this question 12 years ago. In the last 15 years legal immigration has averaged slightly more than a million per year.
The new results come on the 132d anniversary of the Statue of Liberty’s arrival in New York from France in 300 crates.
Today, Republicans (28%) are less likely to say immigrants help the economy, while Democrats (59%) say they help.
Gallup noted in its new report, that it “asks respondents if they think immigrants take jobs that Americans want or if they take low-paying jobs that U.S. adults aren’t interested in. By a commanding margin, 72% said immigrants take jobs Americans don’t want over the 18% who say immigrants take jobs U.S. adults want.”