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Poll: Republicans viewed as the best party to address U.S. immigration system

SHARE Poll: Republicans viewed as the best party to address U.S. immigration system
A U.S. Border Patrol agent monitors the border fence between Douglas, Ariz., and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent monitors the border fence between Douglas, Ariz., and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, on the Douglas side on Oct. 4, 2012.

Brian Nicholson, Deseret News

Republicans appear to have an edge over Democrats as the party seen most likely to address immigration problems in the U.S.

That’s according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 where 40% of respondents said the GOP is best suited to reform the U.S. immigration system, while 32% said Democrats.

What voters think of immigration: Overall, just 5% of voters said immigration was the most important issue heading into the November midterm elections, according to Reuters.

The results suggest increasing support for Republicans among key voter demographics. Consider this:

  • Non-Hispanic white voters without a college degree were twice as likely to choose Republicans as the party to fix immigration.
  • The GOP beat out Democrats among women living in suburban areas by 7%.
  • Voters with college degrees favored Democrats.

Roughly 30% said inflation is the most pressing issue, and 4% chose crime.

Records broken on the southern border: The poll comes as arrests along the U.S.-Mexico border continue to rise.

In September, officers reported 2 million arrests in 11 months, the most ever recorded, with Border Patrol detaining 203,598 migrants along the southern border in August alone.

And in the fiscal year that ended last week, over 800 migrants died trying to enter the country along the U.S.-Mexico border, the deadliest year on record.

The rise in arrests prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to spend nearly $4 billion on Operation Lone Star, an attempt to bolster border security, according to the Texas Tribune.

The policy took a controversial and unconventional approach that included building a border wall, demanding more thorough inspections of commercial trucks — which for several weeks derailed international trade — and arresting migrants on state criminal charges.

Abbott also kicked off a program to bus migrants, most of whom were seeking asylum, to Democrat-run cities like Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City, costing taxpayers $12 million.

Despite all that, the number of migrant encounters in Texas appears to be on the rise. According to the Texas Tribune, Border Patrol officers arrested 109,456 in March, the first month of Operation Lone Star, and in August, the agency reported 116,976 arrests.

The Biden administration also failed to meet its goal of resettling 125,000 refugees, with CBS reporting last week that only 20,000 have been admitted through the country’s refugee pathway. Still, roughly 90,000 Afghans and 62,000 Ukrainians have resettled in the U.S., most obtaining humanitarian parole or a special immigrant visa.

GOP immigration plan takes shape: In September, Republicans in the U.S. House released the “Commitment to America,” a policy approach that includes steps to combat undocumented immigration.

The plans to “secure the southern border” include:

  • Require proof of legal status when applying for a job, while curtailing welfare benefits for undocumented people.
  • Allow the Department of Homeland Security to detain undocumented migrants while their immigration cases are pending.
  • Revive the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy and uphold Title 42, a public health policy originally designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, but now directed at stopping the flow of fentanyl.
  • Finish building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, while increasing funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol.