New Harvard-Harris Poll Shows Broad Opposition to Biden’s Border Policies

By Robert Law on May 10, 2021

A new Harvard-Harris poll shows that the American people want our immigration laws enforced and blame President Biden and his policies for creating a crisis at the southern border. The Hill received early access to the poll and partially shared some of the results in a May 3 article titled “Majority of voters say surge at border is a crisis: poll”. That headline significantly downplays the poll result detailed in the article that 80 percent of respondents said that the current surge of illegal aliens at the border is “a crisis that needs to be addressed immediately”, compared to just 20 percent who believe “it is something that can be dealt with by the immigration system we have currently.”

Though not included in The Hill article, the poll also found that 85 percent want stronger borders, compared to 15 percent who support weaker borders.

Now that the full poll results are publicly available, it’s even clearer that the president’s current attitude toward illegal immigration lacks public support.

When asked, “How serious of an issue do you think illegal immigration is for the country right now?”, 80 percent responded very or somewhat serious, including 47 percent saying “very serious”. Just 5 percent responded “not at all serious”. Out of a provided list of 24 distinct policy issues, 29 percent of those surveyed said immigration is one of the most important issues facing the country today — second only to coronavirus, which came in at 38 percent. Similarly, of a list of 10 issues that the Biden administration should tackle next, “immigration reform” and more economic stimulus tied for first with 16 percent each.

Voters don't seem to be buying the White House spin regarding the cause of the crisis at the border. When asked, “Do you think the Biden administration’s executive actions on immigration encourage or discourage illegal immigration?”, by a 65-35 breakdown respondents said Biden’s actions encourage illegal immigration. Asked whether “the flood of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minor children is the fault of the Biden administration or the Trump administration?”, 59 percent blame the current president compared to 41 percent blaming the previous one.

In another rebuke of the Biden administration’s open-borders policies, 68 percent said aliens who cross the border with Mexico illegally should be turned back, while 32 percent were okay with these aliens being released into the country with a court date. The poll did not ask about releasing illegal aliens into the country without a court date, as is the current practice of the Biden administration, which in many cases is not issuing notices to appear (the immigration court charging document). Separately, 54 percent said a result of the open border is “increasing the flow of drugs and crime to the United States”.

Not all of the survey was negative for President Biden on immigration. In total, 60 percent said they approve of Joe Biden, while 52 percent approve on the issue of “immigration” — which was undefined in the question. A slim 52-48 majority supported undoing all of President Trump’s immigration executive actions when asked, “Do you think that the Biden administration should have undone all of the Trump administration executive orders on immigration or should the Biden administration have left those Trump policies that made it more difficult to come into the country in place?” And, perhaps inconsistent with the responses from other questions in the survey, when asked, “Is the Biden administration creating an open border or is it just trying to enforce immigration laws more humanely?”, 57 percent chose the “more humanely” option.

The Harvard-Harris poll was conducted between April 27 and 29 with 1,872 registered voters. On the political spectrum, the poll was extremely balanced with 37 percent identifying as Democrat, 36 percent Republican, 24 percent Independent, and 3 percent “other”.