Surprise! Illegal immigration deeply unpopular with voters ... in Mexico

Nearly two-thirds of voters consider illegal immigrants a burden. Fifty-five percent of them want all illegal immigrants kicked out of the country. Is this a poll from border states, or states won by Donald Trump in 2016? Actually, these numbers come from a survey conducted by the Washington Post and Reforma, a leading daily in Mexico.

Donald Trump may not be popular in Mexico, but his immigration policy seems to be:

Mexicans are deeply frustrated with immigrants after a year of heightened migration from Central America through the country, according to a survey conducted by The Washington Post and Mexico’s Reforma newspaper.

More than 6 in 10 Mexicans say migrants are a burden on their country because they take jobs and benefits that should belong to Mexicans. A 55 percent majority supports deporting migrants who travel through Mexico to reach the United States.

Those findings defy the perception that Mexico — a country that has sent millions of its own migrants to the United States, sending billions of dollars in remittances — is sympathetic to the surge of Central Americans. Instead, the data suggests Mexicans have turned against the migrants transiting through their own country, expressing antipathy that would be familiar to many supporters of President Trump north of the border.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador had to get pushed into a crackdown, but from these numbers it looks like Trump did him a favor. Mexican voters favor a crackdown on migrants by their National Guard by a wide 51/36 margin, even though 55% of voters see this — accurately — as a policy imposed on Mexico by Trump. Only a plurality support the agreement itself (41%), with enthusiasm for the crackdown tempered by López Obrador’s agreement to house asylum seekers in northern Mexico for an indeterminate amount of time, which has grown deeply unpopular.

Despite seen as submitting to Trump on immigration, López Obrador remains very popular in Mexico, with a 70% approval rating. (Only 7% of respondents had a good opinion of Trump.) A majority believe that López Obrador has stood up to Trump (54/34), while a narrower plurality approve of the way López Obrador has handled the relationship with the US (47/41), although they generally view the relationship as bad (42%, as opposed to 24% good).

Even though his crackdown on illegal immigration got forced upon him, it doesn’t appear to be hurting López Obrador’s standing with his constituents. In fact, it appears that Trump might have done him a favor.