A majority of Americans opposed the Biden administration’s plans to pay as much as $450,000 to illegal migrants individually, or up to $1 million to families, in order to settle a series of lawsuits stemming from policies enacted during the Trump administration.
In addition, most Americans say they believe that the U.S. border with Mexico ought to be closed immediately, according to the survey, conducted by the Trafalgar Group and the Convention of States Action.
The survey comes amid reports that the administration is currently negotiating settlements with hundreds of foreign nationals separated from their families during the Trump administration after being caught crossing illegally into the U.S. The American Civil Liberties Union is leading many of the lawsuits, which are claiming that migrants suffered “trauma” from the separations.
More than two-thirds, or 67 percent, of those surveyed, oppose the payouts, while 55 percent said that the border ought to be closed right away as a means of resolving the current migrant crisis.
“For more than six months, our polling has consistently found that overwhelming majorities of Americans in all parties are opposed to the insane policies coming out of Washington, D.C. since Biden came into office,” said Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action, in a statement along with the survey’s findings.
“For the good of the nation and for the good of their own party, the left needs to reverse course immediately and get back to common sense,” he continued. “Halting ridiculous payments to criminals who violated our laws and came here illegally would be a good start, and stopping more of those people from illegally crossing would be another one.”
Of that 67 percent, 56 percent said they “strongly” disapprove while another 10.9 percent disapprove.
The survey found that opposition to the payouts is essentially bipartisan: Most Republicans and Independents disapprove, 88.1 percent and 67.5 percent respectively, while a large plurality — 45.8 percent — of Democrats reject the plan.
Overall, the survey found that fewer than 20 percent of respondents, or 18.7 percent, support the taxpayer-funded payouts, while 14.4 percent had no opinion.
Democrats were the most approving of the payouts, with more than 36 percent; just 6.5 percent of Republicans approved.
Most respondents also supported closing the border: Nearly 84 percent of Republicans, more than 52 percent of Independents, and about 29.5 percent of Democrats.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that the administration was negotiating the migrant payouts late last month.
“Most of the families that crossed the border illegally from Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. included one parent and one child,” the Journal reported, citing several sources. “Many families would likely get smaller payouts, depending on their circumstances.”
The paper said the ACLU had identified around 5,500 children who were separated from their families under a “zero-tolerance” policy enacted by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the spring of 2018; President Trump rescinded the policy via executive order in June of that year.
“As part of a so-called zero-tolerance enforcement policy, immigration agents separated thousands of children, ranging from infants to teenagers, from their parents at the southern border in 2018 after they had crossed illegally from Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. In some cases families were forcefully broken up with no provisions to track and later reunite them, government investigations found,” the WSJ reported.
“The lawsuits allege some of the children suffered from a range of ailments, including heat exhaustion and malnutrition, and were kept in freezing cold rooms and provided little medical attention,” the paper added.
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