Joe Biden's Approval Rating Weighed Down by Border Crisis, Gun Policy

A majority of Americans disapprove of President Joe Biden's immigration policies and handling of the U.S.-Mexico border crisis, and people think reuniting the migrant children and parents separated at the border should be the federal government's highest priority.

According to an AP-NORC poll, 56 percent of people disapprove of Biden's stance on immigration, with 55 percent disapproving on the current border situation—the two worst readings of the issues included.

Biden also had negative approval ratings on the issues of gun policy and the federal budget deficit. But his overall job approval rating was net positive, with 61 percent approving versus 38 percent disapproving of his presidency so far.

The nationwide poll of 1,166 adults was conducted between March 25-29 and its margin of sampling error is +/- 3.6 percentage points.

The survey comes as Republican lawmakers condemn Biden for his handling of the border, accusing him of encouraging the surge. The number of migrants crossing the US.-Mexico border has hit its highest level for several years.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also sent a letter to Biden in late March demanding answers to the "humanitarian crisis" at the border.

Biden has expressed his desire for a more humane approach to dealing with the surge in border crossings, contrasting himself to predecessor Donald Trump, whose separation policy saw thousands of migrant children split from their parents and held in large cages.

However, the Biden Administration has also faced bipartisan criticism after images and videos emerged last month showing migrant children in crowded conditions while under Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody at a facility in Texas.

According to the latest approval poll, 40 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Biden is handling the crisis involving unaccompanied children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, compared with just 24 percent who approve.

A further 35 percent said they neither approve or disapprove of Biden's handling of children who reach the border without their parents.

The poll also reveals that 65 percent of respondents consider reuniting parents and children who were separated at the border to be a high priority for the government, with a further 26 percent considering it a moderate priority, making it the top issue.

The other top high priorities, according to the poll results, are providing safe treatment of unaccompanied minors at the border (59 percent) and increasing security at the U.S.-Mexico border (53 percent).

The poll notes that while about three-quarters (74 percent) of Democrats approve of Biden's handling of immigration and border security, they are the lowest-ranked of all the issues included in the survey, along with gun policy.

Just like the border and immigration issues, more than half of Americans overall (52 percent) disapprove of Biden's gun policies.

The president vowed in March to take "common-sense steps" and renewed his calls to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the wake of the mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado, during the first three months of his presidency.

Biden's firearm policies were met with major disapproval from Republicans (82 percent), compared to the 74 percent of Democrats who approve.

Overall, Biden is still polling well on job approval, with almost unanimous (96 percent) backing from Democrat voters. Over a fifth (22 percent) of Republicans also approved of the way he is handling the presidency.

Biden is buoyed by majority approval of 73 percent for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a 60 percent approval rating for his handling of the economy—an area of which Trump had enjoyed significant support from voters during his time as president.

The White House has been contacted for comment.

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U.S. President Joe Biden pauses while speaking about the March jobs report in the State Dining Room of the White House on April 2, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images