The record-long partial government shutdown, the threat of a new one, and posturing by all sides have thrust immigration to a near record level of importance in the minds of Americans.
However, a significant majority still strongly opposes any major new wall construction. In fact, the 60 percent who oppose any significant new construction now is three points higher than it was last summer.
Not that President Trump will show it at all, but that would seem discouraging after all the words, travel, and political capital he’s spent on convincing the country that more wall is absolutely essential for national security.
Monday evening Trump held yet another rally to push the wall, this one actually in El Paso near the border with Mexico.
Until late Monday, members of Congress, who were hired to handle these sorts of national disagreements and given a three-week window to do so, said they’ve been unable to agree on some compromise to avoid another partial shutdown this month.
Late Monday night, word came that negotiators had reached an agreement on funding the rest of government including border security “in principle,” which usually means devilish details remain to be settled.
Asked earlier on Monday if another one was looming, Trump told reporters:
It’s up to the Democrats.
In fact, according to this month’s Gallup Poll, wall positions actually appear to be hardening. Those who “Strongly Oppose” more wall-building jumped from 34 percent to 39 percent. Those who “Strongly Favor” more wall edged up from 24 to 26 percent.
More than one-in-five Americans (21 percent) now say immigration is the nation’s most important problem. In the 80-year-old history of that Gallup question, that’s the second highest percentage saying that, just barely behind the 22 percent who said so last summer.
Strong opposition to a wall with Mexico long predated Trump seizing on it as a major 2016 campaign goal. As far back as 1993, Gallup found 71 percent against building such a structure. That opposition dipped to 62 percent in 1995 and 56 percent in 2006.
The same poll found four-of-five Americans (81 percent) support a path to citizenship for those living in the U.S. illegally if they meet certain requirements. That figure is down slightly from 84 percent in 2016.