FAIR Poll Shows Support for Reduced Immigration During COVID-19 Crisis
By Preston Huennekens | FAIR Take | June 2020
The COVID-19 economic and health crisis continues ravaging the United States, even as some states begin reopening their economies and societies following prolonged shutdowns. Some of the first steps that President Trump took to address the crisis involved banning travel from countries that had high rates of infection, including China and the European Union.
On April 22, President Trump signed an executive order temporarily suspending certain types of immigration. Although citing immigration's impact on American workers, the order applied only to people applying for immigrant visas outside the United States and exempts certain classes of family immigration. Unfortunately, the order does nothing to address temporary foreign guestworkers or any other types of nonimmigrant visa programs.
Since then, groups like FAIR turned up the heat on the administration, demanding an expansion of the original executive order to include guest worker programs such as the H-2B, H-1B, L-1, and OPT programs. Even groups of college students wrote to the President, bemoaning their job prospects in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression coupled with the widespread use of foreign guestworkers by major companies.
FAIR commissioned a poll by Zogby Analytics asking voters in ten battleground states their thoughts on immigration actions President Trump could take to protect American workers. Zogby polled voters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin between June 10-11. Across all 10 battleground states, voter opinion was fairly consistent on key issues related to immigration amidst the current health and economic crises:
- By about margins of 2 to 1, voters support “reductions in immigration and guest workers admissions” during the crisis.
- Strong majorities of voters in all ten states believe that “limiting admission of new immigrants and guest workers will improve the chances of laid-off American workers being rehired.”
- In all ten states, some 75% to 80% of voters believe that it is prudent to “slow the admission of foreign nationals until we can provide thorough health screening to everyone entering the country.”
- By majorities of about 2 to 1, voters prioritize reducing overall immigration and strengthening immigration enforcement and border security, over increasing immigration, granting amnesty to illegal aliens, and decriminalizing illegal immigration.
This poll comes at a crucial time in the 2020 campaign season. Already, some advisors in the White House believe that a softer touch on immigration will win President Trump voters in 2020, ignoring his success in 2016. This poll reveals the opposite: that voters in battleground states continue to trust the President’s intincts on this issue.
Importantly, this poll suggests that battleground voters want the Preident to epand upon his earlier executive order by including a ban on guestworkers and guestworker programs until the economy recovers to pre-coronavirus levels. This recent poll pushes back on the assumption that battleground voters are somehow “turned off” by President Trump’s immigration actions, particularly when they benefit working Americans struggling to stay afloat in the COVID-19 economy.