Donald Trump was the first person elected president in nearly a century to run on an explicitly anti-immigrant platform. Trump mined many veins of anti-immigrant sentiment, and “Build the Wall” was the battle cry of his supporters. He won the support of the white nationalist fringe and became the hero of the Alt-Right. Now that he has completed his first two months as president, polling gives us a way to analyze the general public’s reaction to Trump’s executive orders on immigration.
When Trump was first elected president, he got a smaller, but still substantial, wave of support for most of his policies from the public. His honeymoon was brief, but he still had one. When asked if they favored Trump’s plan to suspend immigration from countries which had endured terrorist attacks, 50% of respondents said yes in mid-November, according to data from Quinnipiac University polling. The actual implementation of the Muslim Ban seems to have chilled support for this Trump proposal. In the latest survey by the same pollsters, only 42% supported the measure while 52% opposed it in mid-March.
When asked a separate question about Trump’s revised order, there was even more dissent. The poll asked, “As you may know, Donald Trump has issued a revised executive order that temporarily bans people from entering the U.S. who are from the countries of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Do you support or oppose this action?” Opposition to this rose to 55%.
Asked about the president’s order barring from entry all refugees from around the world for six months, 61% said they were against it. In the fight over the executive orders in the courts, 40% sided with President Trump and 58% approved of the courts’ actions blocking the executive orders.
A CBS News poll from late February found that even Trump’s signature immigration policy, the building of a wall along the Mexican border, has fallen out of favor. According to the survey, only 39% of Americans support the Wall while 58% are against building it.
A CNN poll conducted in early March asked respondents what should be the federal government’s top priority in addressing the issue of undocumented immigration. Only 13% cited deportation as the top priority, while 60% said that creating a pathway to legal residence should be first.
President Trump has not been very effective in convincing Americans that immigration is bad for our country. In fact, his nasty rhetoric and poorly planned actions have pushed those undecided in the opposite direction.