It bears repeating that it’s not Republican partisans who have shifted radically on immigration; it is the Democrats — with a particularly abrupt shift coming since 2012. About 80 percent of Republicans have long said they’re dissatisfied with current immigration levels, with 70 to 80 percent of the dissatisfied saying they’d like to see levels reduced, not increased. Democrats, by contrast, are increasingly likely to say the status quo is fine, and those dissatisfied are less and less likely to say they want immigration to fall. In this year’s Gallup poll on the question, half of respondents were satisfied with the way things are, and among the rest, just a quarter wanted to reduce immigration. With this shift the Democrats have become radically out of sync with public opinion in the rest of the country.
The Harvard-Harris poll showed that while there was strong support for giving DACA recipients work permits and even a pathway to citizenship, 60 percent of Americans reject giving preference to parents and relatives of amnestied DACA recipients, including four out of five Republicans and two out of three independents — but only two out of five Democrats.
Meanwhile, 80 percent of registered voters in that same survey rejected the premise of chain migration in favor of skills-based migration. Those numbers include 90 percent of Trump voters, 79 percent of independents, and incredibly even 72 percent of Democrats. An absolute majority, 63 percent (including 51 percent of Clinton voters!), want to admit fewer than 500,000 immigrants per year — last year we admitted 1.3 million — while only 12 percent want 1.5 million or more. Even a majority of Hispanics want annual immigration below 500,000, versus 8 percent who want 1.5 million or more.