Americans unhappy with immigration levels

The percentage of Americans who are dissatisfied with immigration levels to the country has risen significantly from a year ago, new research shows.

According to Gallup data, 60 per cent of Americans say they are dissatisfied with the level of immigration into the country today – an increase of six percentage points from 2014, but comfortably lower than the 2008 high of 72 per cent. By contrast, one-third of Americans are satisfied with current levels of immigration.

The increasing level of dissatisfaction with current immigration levels comes at a time when immigration is once again a major issue in the political debate. Late in 2014, President Barack Obama issued an executive action protecting some immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.

In a follow-up question that queried the Americans who are dissatisfied with the current levels of immigration, the majority – 39 per cent of all adults in total – would like to see the level of immigration decrease. This ranks among the lowest level of Americans who are dissatisfied and express a desire for less immigration since Gallup began asking the question in 2001.

The share of Americans who are dissatisfied and want more immigration (7 per cent) was unchanged from 2014.

There is a clear political party divide when it comes to attitudes towards immigration levels. More than four out of every five self-identified Republicans say they are dissatisfied with the current level of immigration (84 per cent), a figure that towers above the number of independents (54 per cent) or Democrats (44 per cent) who feel similarly.

According to the latest official immigration figures, 990,553 people became legal permanent residents of the US in 2013 – this was well down on the 1,031,631 who did so in 2012.