Even as Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric heats up – to the degree that one wonders if there’s any ethnic group he tolerates – much of America is feeling differently. As much as Trump and his fellow bigots in the GOP rant about an invasion on our southern border, support for refugees from Central America has actually increased among American voters, according to a new poll from Gallup released on Tuesday. According to the poll, 57% of American voters are in favor of giving asylum to refugees, a 6% increase since last December.
Perhaps the most surprising statistic in the poll is that support for these refugees has risen by 10% since December among Republican voters, suggesting that the caravan stunt from last year’s election didn’t have the potency Trump and his allies were hoping for. Support for refugees also increased among Democrats and independents, who were key to helping Democrats retake the House last fall. This rise in support isn’t necessarily just ominous foreshadowing for Trump in 2020 either.
In the last few days, we’ve seen Donald Trump roll out more abhorrent policies targeting not only refugees, but people who immigrate legally too – jeopardizing the green card status of anyone using food stamps or housing subsidies. These initiatives, meant to help pay for Trump’s tax cuts while firing up the bigots in his base, could be in trouble.
While Trump’s attacks and appalling response to El Paso may or may not be responsible for the sudden increase in refugee support, the number is hardly an anomaly. It’s higher than most polls taken on refugees in the past. This puts Trump in a dangerous situation politically: Either he goes strong against immigration and loses support, or he pushes his draconian policies even further, only for them to fail, and loses support from the hardline bigots in his base.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making