This report describes major trends in U.S. public opinion that are directly relevant to the policy disputes over immigration occurring in recent years and that will follow President Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 elections. Regardless of one's preferences on immigration, we all need to pay better attention to what the American public says. To help us to do so is the primary purpose of this report.
"What the U.S. Public Thinks about Immigration" is divided into two broad sections. The first concerns attitudes toward immigration, often portraying trends across several decades. The second details attitudes about possible reforms, such as the Senate’s comprehensive reform bill of 2013, President Obama’s executive action of late 2014 restricting deportations of unauthorized immigrants, and President Trump's controversial immigration proposals of the 2016 campaign, both during the Republican primaries as well as through the general election.
The report’s scope is broad, including subjects such as historical trends in immigration both legal and illegal, assessment of the impact of immigration on the jobs and wages of legal residents, evaluation of whether immigration is a burden on government programs and services, as well as trends in public opinion on these and other related topics. Three dozen graphics present visual summaries of the considerable evidence provided.
The author has a PhD in political science and several decades experience teaching this subject in courses both on U.S. and Latin American politics. He has written two well-received books on Central America and is the co-editor of two collections concerning immigration and citizenship in the United States. Although "What the U.S. Public Thinks about Immigration" is deeply grounded in the relevant research, it is written for the interested general audience, policymakers, and classroom use.
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