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Poll: Almost twice as many Americans want a decrease in immigration as want an increase

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Immigration,Polls,Border Security,Law,Becket Adams

Americans by and large would like to see immigration in the United States decreased, contrary to certain popular narratives, according to a new Gallup poll.

In fact, according to the survey, fewer than one in four Americans say they support increased immigration.

The Gallup poll, which was conducted from June 5-8 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, found that 41 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 and older say they would like to see immigration decreased.

Only 33 percent of respondents say they're satisfied with immigration the way it is, while 22 percent of survey respondents say they'd like to see immigration increased.

To put things in perspective, more respondents think immigration should be decreased than increased by a margin of nearly two-to-one.

Meanwhile, only a third of respondents are happy with the status quo.

“This poll is especially striking on the one-year anniversary of the Gang of Eight bill passing the Senate. The feature least discussed by its authors -- and never discussed in the ad campaigns - is that it would substantially boost annual legal admissions,” a spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said in a statement, referring to a Senate bill that was thin on border security.

Sessions is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees immigration issues.

“Under current law, we would provide permanent residency (green cards) to approximately 10 million immigrants over the next decade,” the spokesman said. “Under the Gang of Eight bill, that number would increase to more than 30 million (20 million new legal immigrants from abroad plus 10+ million green cards for the current illegal population)," the spokesman added.

Of the small percent of survey respondents who say they would like to see an increase in immigration, only 14 percent were self-identified Republicans.

“Americans' views on immigration have varied a bit in the past 15 years, with the dominant view shifting between decreasing immigration and maintaining it at the current level. Some of these changes may reflect the ebb and flow of Americans' reactions to the 9/11 attacks in 2001 as well as rocketing unemployment in 2009, with both events triggering a temporary surge in anti-immigration sentiment," Gallup said in the report.

“However, the Gallup trend also chronicles a separate narrative: a steady increase in public support for increasing immigration, rising from 10 percent in 1999 to 21 percent in 2012 and 22 percent today," the report added.

Still, even as many respondents say they'd like to see immigration decreased, it's worth noting that overall support for immigration has grown over the past few years.

"Despite Americans' resistance to increasing immigration, the great majority continue to view immigration in positive terms for the country, with 63 percent calling it a good thing. That is down from 2013's high of 72 percent, but still exceeding the sub-60 percent readings found during the recent recession and, before that, in the wake of 9/11," Gallup reported.

"Immigration is central to who Americans are as a people, and what the United States represents, and by and large Americans view immigration as positive for the country. But deciding how many new immigrants to welcome each year can be controversial, particularly when unemployment is high, and seeming competition for good jobs already fierce," the report added.

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