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Rasmussen Reports Weekly Immigration Index

The Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index for the week of May 10-14, 2020 tumbled to 99.0, down over five points from 104.2 the week before. Are Americans growing more protective of the domestic job market?

The Index is based on a series of questions designed to determine whether voters are moving toward an immigration system that encourages more immigration to the United States or a one that reduces the level of immigration here. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

All surveys are compared to a baseline – set the week of December 2-6, 2019 - which has been given an Index of 100. A weekly finding moving up over 100 indicates growing support for a more expansive immigration system. A weekly index number falling below 100 indicates increased support for a more restrictive immigration system.

Crosstabstopline responses and historical data are also available to the public.

The Immigration Index will be updated every Tuesday at noon Eastern.

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In the latest survey, 40% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the government is doing too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays. Thirty-four percent (34%) say the government is doing too much. Twenty-one percent (21%) rate the level of action as about right.

Sixty-six percent (66%) continue to believe the government should mandate employers to use the federal electronic E-Verify system to help ensure that they hire only legal workers for U.S. jobs. That’s up from a low of 61% last week and back in line with weekly surveying for the past several months. Twenty-one percent (21%) disagree, with 13% undecided.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters favor giving lifetime work permits to most of the approximately two million illegal residents who came to this country when they were minors, with 32% who Strongly Favor it. Thirty-six percent (36%) are opposed, including 18% who are Strongly Opposed to such a move.

But just 43% favor giving lifetime work permits to most of the estimated 12 million illegal residents of all ages who currently reside in the United States, including 20% who Strongly Favor it. Just over half (51%) of all voters are opposed, with 28% who are Strongly Opposed.

Legal immigration has averaged around a million annually in recent years, but 50% of voters believe the government should be adding no more than 750,000 new immigrants each year, with 36% who say it should be fewer than 500,000. Thirty-six percent (36%) favor adding one million or more legal newcomers per year, including 10% who say the figure should be higher than 1.5 million. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure.

When businesses say they are having trouble finding Americans to take jobs in construction, manufacturing, hospitality and other service work, 64% say it is better for the country if these businesses raise the pay and try harder to recruit non-working Americans even if it causes prices to rise. Just 22% disagree and say it’s better for the country if the government brings in new foreign workers to help keep business costs and prices down. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.

Only 28% feel that Congress should increase the number of foreign workers taking higher-skill U.S. jobs. Fifty-eight percent (58%) think the country already has enough talented people to train and recruit for most of those jobs. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure.

The Census Bureau projects that current immigration policies are responsible for most U.S. population growth and will add 75 million people over the next 40 years. Most voters still want to slow that growth. In terms of the effect on the overall quality of life in the United States, 34% want to continue immigration-driven population growth at the current levels. Forty-one percent (41%) favor slowing down immigration-driven population growth, while 14% want to have no such population growth at all. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.


The survey of 1,250 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted May 10-14, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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