Can Democrats win on immigration policy in 2020?

But just because more Americans have a positive attitude toward immigration doesn’t mean they want to see more immigration. In early 2019, 30 percent of Americans told Gallup they wanted immigration levels to increase while 31 percent said they wanted levels to decrease and 37 percent said they should be kept the same.

Many Americans are also concerned about border security. A 2018 Harvard-Harris poll found that 61 percent of registered voters believed that current border security was inadequate and 39 percent felt it was adequate. This year, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that just 34 percent of adults thought the border was secure while 50 percent felt it was not secure. Two other polls from earlier this year found that Americans supported increased spending on border security — Gallup found that 75 percent of Americans favored hiring significantly more border patrol agents, while Fox News found that 68 percent of Americans favored spending more on border security measures other than building a wall.

These mixed signals voters seem to be sending in the polls have meant that Democratic leaders have proceeded cautiously on immigration reform. Since capturing the House in the 2018 midterm elections, the party has eschewed a sweeping overhaul and instead has focused on narrower policies that are relatively popular.