By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — A majority of Americans are worried about illegal immigration as the number of illegal immigrants entering the country soars, a new poll shows.
The Gallup poll found that 60% of surveyed Americans are worried about illegal immigration, including 41% who are worried “a great deal.”
“The 41% currently worried a great deal roughly ties the percentage found a year ago but is otherwise on the high end of Gallup readings taken over the past decade,” Gallup said. “The only time significantly more Americans were this concerned was in 2007, when 45% worried a great deal as then-President George W. Bush and Congress debated comprehensive immigration reform.”
In addition, 17% reported being worried “only a little,” and 23% are worried “not at all.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Monday that the number of illegal immigrants encountered at the border has hit the highest level in two decades.
“CBP continues to enforce the CDC’s Title 42 Public Health Order. Half of migrants encountered in March were processed for expulsion under Title 42, and those who were not processed under Title 42 continue to be processed for removal under Title 8, the same authorities CBP has used throughout our history,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said.
Gallup’s polling was taken before the Biden administration announced it was lifting Title 42, a Trump-era rule that allowed border agents to quickly expel illegal immigrants to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into the U.S.
Commissioner Magnus said that number will increase even more after Title 42 is lifted on May 23.
“While we may likely see an increase in encounters after the CDC’s Title 42 Public Health Order is terminated on May 23, CBP continues to execute this administration’s comprehensive strategy to safely, orderly, and humanely manage our borders,” Mr. Magnus said. “CBP is surging personnel and resources to the border, increasing processing capacity, securing more ground and air transportation, and increasing medical supplies, food, water and other resources to ensure a humane environment for those being processed.”
The number of migrants illegally crossing into the U.S. is only rising, according to CBP.
“In total, there were 221,303 encounters along the southwest land border in March, a 33 percent increase compared to February,” CBP said.
That number is the highest in two decades, though many were repeat offenders.
“Of those, 28% involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year re-encounter rate of 14% for FY2014-2019,” CBP added.
The poll found Republicans were more concerned about illegal immigration than Democrats.
“Worry about illegal immigration among political independents falls between Republicans’ and Democrats’ concern — although, like Republicans, more independents are concerned a great deal (39%) than not at all (21%),” Gallup said. “And perhaps important with the midterm elections approaching, independents’ concern has been on the upswing, with those worried a great deal rising from 30% since 2018.”
Casey Harper works at The Center Square’s Washington, D.C., bureau.