Survey: Most Americans Support Biden Administration’s Immigration Policy Direction

Policies such as a path to citizenship and DACA have broad public support 

Washington, D.C. (January 21, 2021) — As the Biden administration begins to implement a sea change in American immigration policy, a new report from PRRI shows these new policies enjoy broad support among Americans across religious, partisan, and demographic divides. 

“The new immigration priorities and policies favored by the Biden administration will bring U.S. policy more in line with long-standing American public opinion, which has consistently reflected a more compassionate and pragmatic approach to these complex issues,” said Robert P. Jones, founder and CEO of PRRI. “Majorities of Americans, including majorities of all religious groups and even a plurality of Republicans, support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.”

Despite the shifting political winds over the last decade, approximately six in ten Americans have consistently supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants since PRRI first began asking this question, in 2013. In the most recent 2020 survey, 64 percent of respondents said immigrants who are living in the country illegally should be allowed a way to become citizens, provided they meet certain requirements; 16 percent said they should be allowed to become permanent legal residents but not citizens; and 19 percent said they should be identified and deported. This policy is supported by 74 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of independents, and a plurality (48 percent) of Republicans. Notably, majorities of all major religious groups, including 58 percent of white evangelical Protestants, support this policy.

Similarly, two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans favor the basic provisions of DACA, allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal resident status, including 80 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents, and 45 percent of Republicans. And majorities of all major religious groups, including 52 percent of white evangelical Protestants, favor this policy.

The hardline immigration policies that were pursued by the Trump administration over the last four years remain unpopular. The new PRRI analysis finds that most Americans oppose the following policies: 

  • A border policy that separates children from their families and charges parents as criminals when they enter the country without permission (76%)     
  • A law preventing refugees from entering the U.S. (62%)     
  • Building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border (57%)     
  • A travel ban that temporarily prevents people from some Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. (53%)     

The full report, “Immigration After Trump: What Would Immigration Policy That Followed American Public Opinion Look Like,” is available on PRRI’s website here.


About PRRI

PRRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy

PRRI Media Contact:

Megan O’Leary

(202) 331-1002