Americans’ support for providing a pathway to citizenship has plummeted since President Joe Biden took office in January as the new administration has struggled to get a handle on the worsening crisis at the southern border, according to a new poll.
A Politico/ Morning Consult poll shows just 43 percent of voters believe that undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the United States should be offered a pathway to citizenship. That figure has dropped 14 points since January.
Among Democrats, support fell from 72 percent to 57 percent, while just one-in-four Republicans were in favor of the proposed pathway, a decrease of ten percentage points.
The poll, which was conducted between March 19 and March 22 among a national sample of 1,994 registered voters, has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.
Experts say Biden’s plan to create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants has served as an incentive for migrants to attempt to cross the border.
The shift in support comes as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently called the situation at the border “difficult” and said the administration is “on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”
While Mayorkas said “poverty, high levels of violence and corruption in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries” are to blame for the influx, and have “propelled migration to our southwest border for years,” Republicans have said it is Biden who is at fault for the surge, after he rescinded the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and reinstated “catch and release.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has said its agents encountered 100,000 migrants making illegal crossings in February, a 28 percent increase from the month before.
Photos of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporary overflow facility in Donna, Texas leaked by Representative Henry Cuellar (D., Texas) reveal severe overcrowding in the makeshift shelter as the administration struggles to accommodate an influx of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border.
As the situation has worsened, Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector have reportedly been directed to allow illegal immigrants into the country without scheduled court dates.
Agents have been told to use prosecutorial discretion to process and release migrants without issuing a Notice to Appear (NTA), which includes details about the hearing at which a court determines whether to process a migrant’s asylum claim. Skipping the NTA process allows agents to avoid hours of paperwork required to issue the notices. The new direction makes migrants responsible for seeking an asylum hearing through Immigrations and Customs Enforcement or legal assistance.
Many migrants are now being registered into the system with biometric data and then released into the public amid a growing surge at the border that has overwhelmed governmental resources and facilities.