New Poll Shows Americans Want Merit-Based Immigration, With Much Lower Overall Levels of Immigration
A new Harvard-Harris poll shows strong support for doing away with the old system of chain migration in favor of a system that selects immigrants based on individual merit and skills.Nearly eight out of 10 voters think that U.S. immigration policy should favor those coming to the U.S. with specific skills or education, and not just based on the fact that they have a relative in the U.S. The support for skills-based immigration was even higher among African Americans, who supported a system based on personal merit by 85 percent. Hispanic voters also strongly support merit-based immigration over the status quo, with a solid 72 percent majority.This support also cuts across political lines, with nearly two-thirds of Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton supporting a merit-based immigration system while 90 percent of Trump supporters back a move a merit-based system.Most Americans support a much lower level of immigration – currently well over one million immigrants per year. Sixty-three percent of Americans support a level of less than 500,000 immigrants per year, including 55 percent of Hispanics, 63 percent of African Americans and 79 percent of Republicans.Nine percent of Americans support zero immigration, fully two percentage points higher than the number who support the current levels of immigration.