The surge in welcoming immigration attitudes can be traced to political opposition to President Trump, the polling company said
By Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK, July 1 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - For the first time in decades, more Americans would like to see immigration rise than fall in a pre-election snub to President Donald Trump, a poll showed on Wednesday.
Trump has taken a hard line against both legal and illegal immigration, and the contrary poll results can be traced to his Democratic opposition, said Gallup, a non-partisan company.
Its poll found 34% would like to see immigration increase, and 28% would like to see it drop.
It was the first time since 1965 - when it began asking a comparable question - that its poll found those wanting more immigration outnumbered those backing a drop, it said.
"The relative high we're experiencing now is mostly driven by Democrats reacting to the president," said Mohamed Younis, Gallup's editor in chief.
"The president is championing slowing down immigration, and obviously Democrats are responding to that," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
A decade ago, just 22% of Democrats said they wanted to see an increase, Younis said, while Republicans' view has stayed essentially steady at 13%. In Gallup's latest poll, half of Democrats said they welcomed more immigrants.
Trump wants to end the so-called Dreamers program that protects immigrants who entered the country illegally as children, as well as build a wall along the Mexican border.
He is seeking a second term in the Nov. 3 election.
Gallup said its poll found the highest support for expanding immigration since 1965, and that those wanting a decrease had hit a new low.
Another 36% think immigration should stay at current levels.
In 1965, the nation passed the Immigration and Naturalization Act that abolished its quota system and ushered in modern-era immigration policies.
The telephone poll was conducted May 28 to June 4, before the Trump administration suspended entry of foreign workers with certain visas on June 22.
The random survey of about 1,000 adults had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
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