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New poll finds majority of Americans agree with Trump: End chain migration, enact merit-based system

A new poll finds majority of Americans hold immigration views similar to President Donald Trump such as ending chain migration, enacting merit-based immigration, toughing border security and finding a DACA solution. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

The overwhelming majority of American voters agree with most of President Donald Trump’s views on immigration, according to a new Harvard-Harris survey.

While Trump has urged lawmakers to find a legislative pathway to keep recipients of DACA in the U.S., Trump has made it clear he wants merit-based immigration — not “chain migration” or the visa-lottery system — wants strong borders and wants to decrease the number of available annual visas.

So, what did the poll find?

  • On chain migration: The poll found that 79 percent of Americans favor merit-based immigration over relative-based immigration, known as “chain migration.” Just 21 percent of respondents said immigration priority should be associated with relatives.
  • On the visa lottery system: The survey found that 68 percent of Americans are in-favor of ending "the lottery that randomly picks 50,000 people to enter the U.S. each year for greater diversity.” Just 32 percent want to keep the system.
  • On DACA: Respondents overwhelmingly agreed — at more than 75 percent each — that undocumented immigrants who meet the DACA criteria should be given work permits and a pathway to citizenship. However, respondents said 60-40 that relatives of "Dreamers" should not get priority immigration, as they do currently.
  • On border security: More than half, 61 percent, also said border security is “inadequate,” while 79 percent said America needs stronger borders.
  • On annual visa allotment: The poll found that 72 percent of Americans believe the number of immigrants allowed into the U.S. each year should be less than 1 million, while 54 percent said it should be less than 500,000 and 35 percent said it should be under 250,000 annually. Currently, more than 1 million people immigrate to the U.S. annually.

Meanwhile, respondents were quite clear how they felt about Democrats not voting for a budget continuing resolution — thereby shutting down the government — in order to fight for a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The poll, which was taken just days before the government shutdown, found that 58 percent of Americans oppose Democrats shutting the government down in the fight over DACA. Just 42 percent said they support the decision.

The poll was conducted online in the U.S. between Jan. 17-19 among 980 registered voters.

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