Stoking fear about a migrant caravan was a top pre-election talking point of President Donald Trump’s, but most Americans think migrants who reach the US border should be given the opportunity to enter the country if they meet certain requirements, according to a new poll by Monmouth University.
A full 70% support allowing migrants in the country while only a quarter think they should be sent back.
Large majorities of Democrats and independents think the group should be given the opportunity to enter (89% and 72%, respectively), while Republicans are slightly more divided. Half of Republicans said the caravan should be turned back and 43% thought they should be given an opportunity to enter.
A plurality (39%) said that the caravan poses no real threat to the US and 29% said it’s a major threat. Only a quarter think it’s a minor threat. Republicans are more likely to think of the migrants traveling to the border as a threat (54%), whereas only 28% of independents and 11% of Democrats agree.
Another 7-in-10 said that illegal immigration is a very or somewhat serious problem in the US, a number that has stayed relatively stable since January. But slightly more now said that illegal immigration is “very serious” compared to in the past (49% now compared to the 45% in January and 43% in September 2017).
Right before midterms, President Trump began hitting the caravan hard as an election issue, but he has been quiet on the subject since Election Day. Migrants from the group have begun arriving at the border but, as CNN pointed out last week, the legal process for their entry could take weeks.
One piece of rhetoric pushed by the President was suggestion it’s possible the caravan included a number of terrorists in addition to those seeking asylum. A quarter of Americans in the new poll believed him and said the caravan does include terrorists. Another 22% thought that it doesn’t include any terrorists. Monmouth also gave respondents the option to be slightly unsure. Only 13% said they aren’t sure but they think it’s more likely there are terrorists and 28% said they’re unsure but it’s more likely there are not. So including those who aren’t positive, 38% think the caravan could or definitely does include terrorists and half said it probably or definitely doesn’t.