Current public preferences concerning immigration provide sound guidance for a resilient compromise on many aspects of the 2020 immigration debate. These include legalization of the status of both the “Dreamers” (young people brought to the country illegally when they were children) as well as the millions more of adult undocumented immigrants. Given the political reality that the Senate and the executive branch are currently controlled by the Republican Party, public support can also be found for key elements of President Trump’s agenda, including enhanced border security (but not his border wall with Mexico) and changes to policy governing legal immigration, such as leaning away from family unification toward a more merit-based system and better limiting overall immigration levels.
The 2020 Immigration Debate: Trump Faces Public Opinion presents the results for a wide variety of questions for the broadest time span possible, in some cases stretching across decades. At the same time, a number of the report’s 21 graphs present survey results extending into late 2019. Partisan differences are also portrayed when relevant, often showing sharp differences between Democrats and Trump voters that highlight the difficulties that face compromise in this area. But it can be done if we let the public show the way.