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News > U.S.

Most US Citizens Do Not Support President Trump's Asylum Policy

  • Central American migrants returned from the U.S. are arriving to Monterrey, Mexico July 31, 2019.

    Central American migrants returned from the U.S. are arriving to Monterrey, Mexico July 31, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 August 2019

A Pew Center study found that there is a broad public support for path to legal status for undocumented immigrants.

A Pew Research Center poll found that most U.S. citizens reject President Donald Trump's measures against asylum seekers and 72 percent of them support granting legal status to immigrants.


Guatemala Cannot Be 'Safe Third Country,' US Congresswoman Says

According to this study, 65 percent of respondents believe that the U.S. government is performing either "very badly" or "somewhat badly when dealing with the growing number of asylum seekers on the Mexican border. Only 33 percent of U.S. citizens think that their government is doing a good job.

Meanwhile, 86 percent of respondents consider it important to increase the number of judges to process asylum applications quickly and adequately. In addition, 82 percent argue that it is also important to provide safe and sanitary conditions to asylum seekers once they arrive in the U.S.territory.

The Pew Center study also found that 72 percent of respondents believe that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally if they meet certain conditions.

In fact, most of the interviewees had positive views on migrants when they asked to evaluate traits such as honesty and impact on jobs.​​​​​​​

Over 77 percent believe migrants work in jobs that U.S. citizens do not want; 73 percent believe that migrants are as honest and hardworking as U.S. citizens while 69 percent say they do not see a greater likelihood of migrants committing serious crimes.

The results of this survey were published the same day the Trump administration unveiled a new rule that would limit legal immigration by denying visas and permanent residency to hundreds of thousands of people because they receive public benefits such as welfare, food stamps, public housing or Medicaid.

This was the last measure in a set of policies that have tried unsuccessfully to curb the flow of migrants over the last year.

To prepare this report, the Pew Center, which is a research think thank created in 1990 to study U.S. politics and policy, conducted a nationwide survey of 4,175 people between July 22 and Aug, 4.​​​​​​​

Previously, on July 26, the U.S. government imposed an agreement on Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales to have his country host asylum seekers while the U.S. authorities process their applications.

Besides being based on the threat of economic sanctions, this "Safe Third Country" deal has been questioned by immigration and legal experts and activists because it allows for sending asylum seekers to a territory which is is not safe for their lives, and one from which many citizens are fleeing. 

President Trump’s latest “achievement has been to force Guatemala - a country on the verge of collapse and mired in a humanitarian and institutional crisis - into becoming a temporary prison for those seeking asylum in the U.S.,” Renata Avila, the Smart Citizenship Foundation director, told Open Democracy.

“Guatemala will receive hundreds of deported migrants. The country has been designated as the hell where the concentration camps for migrants will be located, conveniently out of the reach of U.S. courts of justice. Guatemala is thus to become a Tropical Turkey, the country where asylum requests will be brought together, so that the brutality can be carried out offshore.”​​​​​​​


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