FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 6, 2022
CONTACT: Bilal Askaryar | BilalA@wrcommission.org | 646-899-9722
Support for U.S. Asylum System Strong Across Party Lines, New Poll Finds
“As Congress and the White House float various proposals to curtail asylum rights, the American people are clear that protecting people fleeing violence and oppression remains an enduring value that the majority of us supports.”
Washington – Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73.4%) either strongly or somewhat agree that the US should provide asylum to people fleeing persecution and/or violence in their home country according to a new poll conducted by the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California, San Diego and released Tuesday by the #WelcomeWithDignity asylum rights campaign. The poll of 1,000 Americans found majority support across the political spectrum, with 87% of Democrats, 74% of Independents and 57% Republicans expressing support for asylum.
“As Congress considers a draft framework by Senators Tillis and Sinema that includes proposals to curtail asylum rights, the American people are clear that protecting people fleeing violence and oppression remains an enduring value that the majority of us supports,” said Bilal Askaryar, Senior Communications Coordinator for the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign. “Despite relentless press attention and political attacks on maintaining our commitment to protecting those seeking safety on our shores, this poll taken after election day should signal to politicians that efforts to further curtail asylum and block access to our legal system are not popular with their constituents.”
The poll of 1,000 Americans was conducted Nov. 10-15 by principal investigator Tom Wong of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California, San Diego. He wrote in a memo summarizing the findings:
Across both parties, an overwhelming majority supports investing more resources in building an asylum system that is fair, fast, and accurate. In the full sample of Americans, 82% strongly or somewhat support greater investment, with a plurality of Americans (40%) expressing strong support. 89% of Democrats, 71% of Republicans, and 84% of Independents either strongly support or somewhat support. In fact, among Republicans, three-in-ten (29%) strongly support and four-in-ten (42%) somewhat support greater investment in a “fair, fast, and accurate” asylum system.
“Evaluating asylum claims is literally a matter of life an death, so our system must accurately determine whether denying an asylum claim will send someone back to danger or back to death,” said Askaryar. “Our nation is at our best when we live up to our ideals, and we can do so without trading one group for another like Senator Sinema is proposing. We need to get past the blanket bans on people asking for asylum at all, like Title 42 and other Trump-era policies that have been shamefully continued into the Biden years, because we know we are currently putting people in danger, but beyond that we need to invest in the infrastructure to evaluate asylum claims correctly and move people through the legal process in a fair and efficient manner.”
The poll found strong support for protecting due process in the asylum process and a recognition for the reasons people are seeking asylum and why U.S. laws protecting asylum are important to both keep in place and to strictly follow. Professor Wong’s summary memo states:
We asked Americans what they think the priorities should be for the US asylum system. More than three-quarters of Americans (78%) believe that upholding due process in the asylum system should be a priority or a top priority. Upholding due process enjoys a cross-partisan consensus: 80% of Democrats, 75% of Republicans, and 78% of independents share this view. In fact, among Republicans, “upholding due process” was the proposal most likely to be considered a “top priority” (38%) among all the statements/proposals we tested.
“Ever since President Trump put in place his COVID-era asylum ban, known as Title 42 in 2020, we have seen greater chaos and greater numbers of people seeking asylum between our ports of entry because their access to controlled ports of entry was blocked,” said Askaryar. “Now that Title 42 is set to expire under a court order on December 21, lawmakers in Congress and policy-makers at the White House have been floating the idea of extending Trump’s Title 42 ban, which is exactly the opposite of what will give us more control, orderliness and protection of vulnerable migrants seeking safety. Hopefully this poll shows these Washington leaders that people around the country are not onboard when it comes to further cutting off a path to safety through our asylum system to those fleeing conditions of violence and repression.”
On a press call on Tuesday, December 6 at 1pm ET, leaders from the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign will join Prof. Wong to discuss the poll and the various proposals being floated to restrict asylum, what the United States should be doing instead to prepare for a post-Title 42 world, and investments needed to strengthen, not weaken, the asylum system. For details and dial-in information on the press call, email: BilalA@wrcommission.org
The Welcome with Dignity Campaign for asylum rights is composed of more than 100 national and regional organizations committed to transforming the way the United States receives and protects people forced to flee their homes to ensure they are treated humanely and fairly. To learn more and join our campaign visit: welcomewithdignity.org