There is a new middle on immigration, and it is further to the right than many may realize. Most Americans believe the U.S. immigration system is broken, out of control, and antiquated. All hope for reform is not lost, however. The American people have an urgent desire for the federal government to develop an enforced, fair, and consistent process that addresses these systemic issues. Over the past year, the Bipartisan Policy Center and BPC Action have engaged in a major effort, including focus groups and a national survey, aimed at finding out what Americans think about the U.S. immigration system and what they want to see done to fix it. BPC is using that information to find ways to rebuild bipartisanship in the immigration discussion in America.
These efforts found that Americans overwhelmingly believe immigration helps the United States and that, as a nation of immigrants, the American people feel it is necessary to continue this strong tradition. They want the federal government to tackle immigration reform; it just needs to be the right kind of reform—focused on building a controlled system that prioritizes what they think is the right kind of immigrant. BPC also found that states and localities around the country are growing more frustrated that the federal government hasn’t clarified a new immigration policy, and they are increasingly feeling pressure to intervene.