Most Americans Support Trump Closing U.S. Border and Banning Asylum Seekers Amid Pandemic: Poll

A majority of Americans say they support President Donald Trump and his administration's efforts to close the U.S. border, reduce immigration and ban asylum seekers during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new poll.

The poll asked respondents if they believe the federal government should restrict immigration by doing such things as closing the border, preventing legal immigrants from bringing their extended family into the U.S., banning the entry of seasonal workers and banning the entry of asylum seekers and refugees.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they think the U.S. should temporarily close the U.S. border except for essential travel, while 14 percent disagreed.

Sixty percent said they think the federal government should prevent legal immigrants from bringing their extended family into the U.S., while 25 percent disagreed and 15 percent said they don't know.

Additionally, the poll found that 58 percent of respondents said the federal government should ban entry to seasonal and foreign guest workers, as well as asylum seekers and refugees. Twenty-seven percent opposed banning seasonal and foreign guest workers, as well as asylum seekers and refugees.

The poll, which was conducted by NPR/Ipsos, surveyed 1,115 U.S. adults from July 30 to July 31. The poll does not report a margin of error but has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

U.S.-Mexico Border
Barbed wire near the U.S.-Mexico border fence as seen from Tijuana on June 19. A new poll shows a majority of Americans support President Donald Trump's efforts to close the U.S. border and ban asylum seekers during the coronavirus pandemic. Guillermo Arias/Getty

The poll's findings come as Trump and his administration have taken strict actions to limit immigration during the pandemic. In June, Trump signed an executive order to extend a freeze on green cards for new immigrants and suspended other temporary work visas. He also closed the borders in the north and south, so they were open only to "essential" travel.

"Americans do want to take steps to limit immigration right now," said Ipsos' director of public affairs, Mallory Newall, according to NPR. "But that's not because their views on immigration have changed. It's because they want to do everything in their power to contain the spread of COVID-19."

The survey also found that immigration is no longer a top concern for Americans, compared with polling results from two years ago. The poll gave respondents a list of current issues and asked them, "Which three of the following topics do you find most worrying?"

Only 11 percent of respondents said immigration was one of the issues they found most worrying, a 14 percent decrease from 2018, when the poll found that one in four said immigration was a top concern.

The novel coronavirus led the latest poll as a top concern for Americans, as 46 percent said so, followed by 25 percent that said health care, 24 percent that said political extremism and 22 percent that said racial injustice.