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Biden’s Voters Miss Trump’s Immigration Policies

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Americans who voted for President Joe Biden in the last presidential election miss former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, a new poll shows.

Exclusive polling conducted for Newsweek by Redfield and Wilton found that more Biden voters support the construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, 38 percent, than oppose the idea, 34 percent. A quarter of those voters said they neither support nor oppose a border wall. At the same time, 67 percent of Trump 2020 voters support a border wall and 54 percent of all respondents said the same.

“Many people would have thought that [a border wall] is something that Democrats would not agree with,” Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a border security expert and professor at George Mason University, told Newsweek. “However, the politics of fear have reached the wider U.S. population.”

“The way [border security] has been portrayed, with a lot of success, by conservatives in the U.S. has also had an impact on Democrats,” she said. At the same time, “The Democrats have not really been able to portray a different perspective.”

Although border fences have long been built by both Democratic and Republican presidents, the term “border wall” has become synonymous with Trump, who made construction a critical campaign promise during his 2016 campaign. During the Trump presidency, 458 miles of the wall were built, 81 percent of which replaced existing barriers, according to a 2023 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. When Biden took office, he immediately ordered a “pause” on all border wall construction.

The issue of immigration has plagued Biden’s presidency. Since the early days of the Biden White House, Republicans have fiercely attacked the administration for relaxing the strict policies under Trump. The record-breaking number of migrants who have crossed into the U.S. from the southern border illegally has presented Biden with yet another obstacle in his already difficult re-election effort.

The Redfield and Wilton poll found that 65 percent of Americans agree that the U.S. is facing a migrant crisis and 58 percent do not believe that the nation has control over its southern border. That includes 62 percent of Biden 2020 voters who believe the country is facing a migrant crisis and 52 percent of Biden supporters who think the U.S. has no control over the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Decades of our elites—on both sides of the political divide—either ignoring or attempting to finesse this issue without honestly confronting it now translate into a crisis that can no longer be side-stepped,” Peter Skerry, a political science professor at Boston College, told Newsweek.

Correa-Cabrera said Biden’s immigration problem stems mainly from his approach to addressing the surge in migrants that have arrived in the U.S.

“We have not seen him very active,” she said. “He has been very reactive. He has been on the defense. He has been responding to and he has not been responding with a lot of success.”

Biden Trump Border Wall
Left: President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Tuesday in Washington, DC. Right: Former President Donald Trump makes comments on Monday in New York City. A new poll found that 38 percent…


Alex Wong/Curtis Means/Getty Images

Correa-Cabrera suggested that Biden counter the narrative on immigration by taking a similar position to the one he took during his 2020 campaign, saying that his team “already knows how to do this, but they have not been focusing on that.”

Skerry said that it will be important that all presidential candidates make immigration a top issue for their campaign.

“Immigration is clearly going to be one of the dominant, if not the dominant, issues in the 2024 election,” Skerry said. “As we move into spring and summer, there is no reason to believe that border crossings will diminish, on the contrary—unless the Biden administration implements some drastic policy initiatives, which it appears unable or unwilling to do.”

“If nothing else happens, if the U.S. does not enter into a war or into an armed conflict with Taiwan or something major happens, this is going to be the voting issue,” Correa-Cabrera agreed.

The Redfield and Wilton poll was conducted between March 23 and 24 with a sample size of 1,500 eligible U.S. voters. It has a margin of error of +/-2.53 percent.