Ignorance is Driving Trump Support

As the partial shutdown of the federal government continues, it has now become the longest funding lapse in U.S. history. President Trump is demanding that Congress approve $5.7 billion in funds to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Meanwhile, on Friday, at least 800,000 federal workers did not receive paychecks.

During Trump’s presidential announcement speech in 2015, he told his anti-immigration supporters he’d build a wall “very inexpensively.”

“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”

Trump has said that “illegal immigrants” have been “pouring into our country” over the last 10 years. However, for almost two decades, illegal border crossings have been declining.

“In 2017, border-crossing apprehensions were at their lowest point since 1971,” according to The New York Times.

Most Americans don’t know that the overwhelming majority of U.S. immigrants are legal.

Pew Research Center outlines how Americans view immigration:

  • Lawful immigrants accounted for about 76% of all immigrants in the U.S. in 2016. But only 45% of Americans correctly said most immigrants are in the U.S. legally.
  • About 75% of people who voted for a Republican Congressional candidate said illegal immigration was a very big problem, versus just 19% among those who voted for a Democratic candidate.
  • The majority of Americans (56%) oppose substantially expanding the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, while 40% support doing so.
  • Republicans overwhelmingly favor building a wall along the entire border, but Republicans who live closer to the border are somewhat less likely to favor it.
  • Disagreement between Republicans and Democrats extends to the effects of a wall.
  • Despite Trump’s claim that Mexico would pay for the wall, most Democrats, and nearly half of Republicans, believed the U.S. would ultimately have to pay for it.
  • The majority of Americans support granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.


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