If you’re wondering why President Biden has suddenly shown renewed interest in illegal immigration, wonder no more. As the I&I/TIPP Poll for October clearly shows, most Americans now see the open U.S. border as a serious national problem. And that also includes Democrats.
With a record surge of illegal immigrants into the U.S., I&I/TIPP asked the 1,378 voters who responded to the national online poll, which was taken from Sept. 27-29: “How would you describe the current situation at the United States’ southern border with Mexico?”
The poll, which was taken from Sept. 27-29 and has a margin of error of +/-2.7 percentage points, then provided five potential responses for participants: “crisis,” “a major problem,” “a minor problem,” “not a problem,” and “not sure.”
The response was clear and unequivocal. 72% of Americans called it either a crisis or a major problem. Just 22% said it was either a minor problem or not a problem. Another 6% said they were “Not sure.”
Republicans came out highest, with 88% calling the illegal border crossings a crisis or major problem, and just 10% calling the problem minor or nonexistent. Independents were somewhat below the Republicans at 64% vs. 25%. But Democrats weren’t far behind, at 62%-32%.
Of all the 26 demographic groups I&I/TIPP tracks each month, just one group was less than a majority: The youngest cohort, which includes those age 18 to 24 years. And even among the young, there was a plurality of 44% (“crisis/major problem”) to 37% (minor/not a problem).
There were some interesting results, however. Overall, 62% of the two largest minority groups, blacks and hispanics, called uncontrolled immigration across our border a crisis or major problem, while 27% didn’t see it that way.
But break the numbers down further and you might be surprised. Blacks are among the lowest percentage in seeing the border as a serious problem, at 54% to 34%. But hispanics at 70% are much more likely to see it as serious (38%) or even a crisis (33%), not too far different from whites, at 77% to 19%.
I&I/TIPP followed up with a second question: “To what extent do you believe the Biden administration’s policies are responsible for the current situation at the Southern border?” The possible answers were: “Very responsible,” “Somewhat responsible,” “Not very responsible,” “Not at all responsible,” and “Not sure.”
Overall, 63% said President Biden was either “very responsible” (40%) or “somewhat responsible (23%), while just just 28% said he was either “not very responsible” (18%) or “not at all responsible” (10%). Another 9% said they weren’t sure.
When it comes to the political part of the question of Biden’s responsibility or non-responsibility for the border mess, the partisan nature of the issue emerges.
Republicans blame Biden by 88% to 11%. Independents are at 61% to 24%. But Democrats are far below, with plurality holding Biden blameless for the border chaos, 42% (“responsible) vs. 47% (“not responsible”).
And once again, the splits among demographic groups could spell trouble for Biden: 67% of whites, 61% of hispanics and 53% of blacks see Biden as responsible for what’s taking place on the nation’s southern border.
This poses a significant political problem for Biden’s 2024 presidential run. It’s clear from the I&I/TIPP data that most voters see immigration as a serious problem, and blame Biden for making it worse.
A number of stories and “fact checks” in the mainstream media have tried to downplay the seriousness of the problem. But it is a hard fact that monthly apprehensions of illegal entrants into the U.S. have soared on average from 50,351 during the Trump administration to 194,290 under Biden.
In September, the latest data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed a new record of 304,162 illegal entrants into the U.S during August.
“For perspective, it’s as many as crossed illegally in all of 2017, and more than the entire population of Pittsburgh,” Issues & Insights noted.
Americans are increasingly angry about what they perceive as chaos on our southern border. And it hasn’t escaped notice in the White House, where aides are said to be desperately looking for a way to defuse the issue, which is now affecting Blue State big city Democratic strongholds like New York and Chicago.
The issue will only grow in visibility following Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel, which killed an estimated 700, including at least 11 Americans. An estimated 100 were taken hostage. Border crossings into the U.S. by foreigners on the terrorist watch list have surged in the past two years, and are on their way to another record again this year.
In recent weeks, Biden announced he would resume building Trump’s southwest border wall to stem the human tide coming across, what the New York Post called a “stark reversal of its previous stance on the physical barrier.” And just last week, the White House said it would restart deportation flights from the U.S. to Venezuela, apparently reversing a two-week old policy that would give Venezuelans special protected status and work permits.
Even Department of Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas reversed course and claimed “an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers,” even vowing to get rid of many of the strict environmental reviews that had been used as a reason not to build a wall.
“Some Democrats across the country are distancing themselves from the White House, and polls indicate widespread frustration with Biden’s handling of immigration and the border, creating a major liability for the president’s re-election next year,” the Associated Press wrote this week.
Will Biden’s border reversal work? Or will voters see it as insincere pandering? It’s not clear. One thing that is clear, however, is that at the moment, Biden’s immigration policies are an enormous political challenge for him and his re-election effort, as I&I/TIPP polling data show.
I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique, and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP’s reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.
Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.
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