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Poll: voters warm to mass deportations

Migrants attempting to cross into the US from Mexico are detained by Customs and Border Protection officials at the border. Credit: Getty

April 27, 2024 - 2:30pm

Amid growing discontent with immigration, polling evidence across Europe and the US points to increasing voter support for a previously unmentionable idea: mass deportations.

A majority of Americans, 51%, now support mass deportations, including 45% of Latinos and 42% of Democrats, a Harris poll revealed last week. In an earlier poll, Gallup found support for deporting all illegal immigrants hovering around 20% between 2006-15, with an additional 14-17% wanting illegal migrants to be allowed to stay temporarily while working during those polling years.

The swift change in public opinion came after years of record-breaking illegal immigration, with Americans feeling the effects far away from the border. About 3.2 million illegal immigrants were encountered by border patrol in 2023, more than double the figure from 2019. Migrants have strained the resources of large, blue cities including New York and Chicago, where residents and Democratic leaders have called for the federal government to slow the stream of migrants.

Immigration has become the single greatest public concern of the upcoming presidential election, with Democrats now in the position of calling for border security in their campaigns, a far cry from the fierce reaction to Donald Trump’s 2016 promise to “build the wall”. Trump, meanwhile, has promised “the largest deportation operation in American history” if he’s elected in November.

The US isn’t alone in its growing focus on migration: throughout Europe, anti-immigration sentiment has been growing for years.

In the UK, annual immigration has been rising significantly since 1994 and has approximately doubled since 2019. The Rwanda bill became law this week, serving to deport migrants with weak claims to asylum. The bill had slight net popularity last June, but a more recent poll found that scrapping the legislation was slightly more popular than pushing ahead with it. This shift may reflect the public’s weariness over the legislative process rather than a loss of appetite for deportations, however.

French President Emmanuel Macron came out against the legislation, calling it a betrayal of European values. Meanwhile, Macron has been pushing for immigration restrictions at home, supporting a bill that will speed up deportations, delay welfare benefits for migrants and make it more difficult for them to bring their families to France. He has also argued that the country has “an immigration problem”.

Annual immigration to the European Union from non-EU countries more than tripled from 2013-22, rising above five million migrants per year. The European Parliament voted in favour of rules this month to make it easier to deport asylum seekers who have misled authorities, who present a security risk or who do not have a legitimate need for international protection.

The measure received praise from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has called for “large-scale” deportations of migrants whose asylum claims have been rejected. Germany is itself seeing a surge in popularity for its Right-wing AfD party, particularly among young people, thanks to its opposition to immigration.

Countries that have embraced mass migration in recent decades are now backtracking, largely in response to surges in crime. In Sweden, migrants are 2.5 times likelier to be registered as a crime suspect than those born to two Swedish parents, while those born in the country to non-native parents are 3.2 times as likely, according to government figures. Sweden already offers funding to help migrants repatriate to their countries of origin, and is considering ways to encourage more voluntary returns.

After decades of mass immigration, it is now becoming politically mainstream to support large-scale returns for migrants throughout much of the West. Passing the Rwanda bill and building the border wall in the US — still an incomplete project — have been uphill battles, but future migration crackdowns could look different.


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
24 days ago

I’ll believe it when I see it !
Are immigrants bad ? No. Is immigration bad ? No.
Is mass migration bad ? Probably yes, long term.
Is uncontrolled mass migration bad ? Absolutely.

Rob N
Rob N
24 days ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

No ‘probably’ about it. Deportations of all illegal immigrants. Deportations of all registered foreigners who break any law or are charged with any offence. Deportations of any new citizens who are convicted of any crime.

If we don’t do that, or nearly, and very soon we will either lose our country or have a civil war.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
24 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

“or are charged with any offence” That’s the top of a very slippery slope! Whatever happened to “Innocent until proven guilty?”

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
24 days ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

I get your sentiment, but an illegal immmigrant is illegal by its very nature.

Micah Dembo
Micah Dembo
22 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

A legal subject of the crown cannot be deported unless convicted of an offense that carries this penalty. Yet if convicted it can legally be done under common law.. Any subject of the crown can potentially lose the privilege of travel under the protection of a British passport. I think this can be done without trial, e.g. for reasons of national security, or public health.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
24 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

“Deportations of any new citizens who are convicted of any crime”
Why wouldn’t you deport any citizen convicted of a crime?
Let’s say a corpulent and ridiculous reality TV “star” is convicted of breach campaign finance laws – why doesn’t he get deported but the other guy does?

Sylvia Volk
Sylvia Volk
24 days ago

Yes, put them on a prison ship and send them to Australia.

Micah Dembo
Micah Dembo
22 days ago
Reply to  Sylvia Volk

Or to America, like you did with the Jacobin Scots. Let’s hear what it for Bonny Prince Charlie!

Sphen Oid
Sphen Oid
14 days ago
Reply to  Sylvia Volk

Maybe send all those original convicts offspring that are currently living today should be sent back to Europe!

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
24 days ago

Yes maybe, if they commit the crime of militant jihadist terrorism (but not for the crime of stealing apples)

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
23 days ago

Why not? Why only terrorism and not other serious felonies?

Paul T
Paul T
24 days ago

“citizen”

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
23 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

He/she/it (the bubbly guzzling socialist) is one of the resident forum trolls who struggles with reading and definition comprehension. It doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “citizen”.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
24 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

The third possibility is a mass attack on the illegals.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
24 days ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Shutting down open borders should be a line everyone agrees with. Sovereign nations owe it to their citizens to properly vet every single person who moves in.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
24 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

What the situation in NY and Chicago suggests is that this doesn’t happen until the middle class progressives/leftists start to be inconvenienced. Sadly, we’re a long way from that in the UK. Commandeer every hotel and spare room in Hampstead and watch the mood change.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
24 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

There are no open borders, Jimbo, I’ve already explained this to you – its just a line the far right media use to get low information voters all fired up.

Paul T
Paul T
24 days ago

Is that why it works on you?

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
23 days ago

Oh dear Comrade, you need to lay off the Moet & Chandon.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
24 days ago

An interesting view from Mr Macron. What values is he referring to? If he’s happy not to take all these migrants in, instead letting them live in shanty towns before floating over the channel, he can hardly complain about the UK relocating them in a nice, safe aeroplane.

Matt M
Matt M
24 days ago

Rwanda isn’t designed to deport immigrants with weak asylum claims. It is deport people who enter the country by illegal routes. You can no longer claim asylum in the UK if you enter the country illegally. You will either be deported home or to Rwanda.

At least that’s the plan.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
24 days ago

There must be elections ahoy if the usual suspects on the far right are stirring up the rubes with their immigration fear mongering!
I doubt if even you guys will forget that the spike in UK immigration has happened under the watch of the incompetent Tories and in the US it was House Republicans that spiked Biden’s border security measures at the instruction of a certain obese orange buffoon.
Oh! You had forgotten all that already? Quelle surprise!

Dr E C
Dr E C
24 days ago

I can’t think why America voted for that orange buffoon in the first place when there are such clever people as yourself on the other side!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
23 days ago
Reply to  Dr E C

Trolls feed off common sense offered by the unsuspecting. Just stop feeding them and they’ll go away.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
24 days ago

The Tories should have simply blown the boats out of the water. There is an active invasion of the UK and Ireland. No quarter.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
24 days ago

For me it’s about shared basic values and respect for the freedom of others with the intent of contributing as best one can
 All those who do not wish to share Western values and add their own culture to the melting pot (yes melting pot) can get out (and the antisemites and death to America types cannot get out fast enough)

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
24 days ago
Reply to  Matt Sylvestre

Which “western values” are those, champ?
Grab ’em by the pu$$y values?

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
24 days ago

No, the ones about free speech, regular and fair elections, trust in democratic institutions, that sort of thing. You can share the belief even if the values are occasionally a touch wobbly in practice.

Paul T
Paul T
24 days ago

That is a projection of your ugly id. Maybe you should have a rethink about who it is you are arguing with.

Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
24 days ago

Such a childish response.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
23 days ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

Stop feeding the trolls and they’ll go away!

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
23 days ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Thank you! I have been writing that for months! Don’t give the thing any attention! Ignore, ignore, and ignore some more.

Kat L
Kat L
21 days ago
Reply to  Matt Sylvestre

We haven’t required that in years. The problem is that even if they are contributors their descendants typically don’t see themselves in our history and feel no connection with it.

Arthur King
Arthur King
24 days ago

It will take generations for Canada to recover from mass immigration

Troy MacKenzie
Troy MacKenzie
22 days ago
Reply to  Arthur King

I’m afraid we never will. The country is lost.

John Riordan
John Riordan
24 days ago

Mass deportations become popular among voters, after mass immigration was imposed on the same voters without their consent?

Only a member of the political class could possibly be surprised at this.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago

So where is all the kindness,understanding and non-judgmental acceptance then. Has it dawned that caring comes at a price then.
Both emotional and financial. I resent hearing that migrants should be GIVEN a house (weasel word) as it’s cruel to squash two adults and seven kids in a two bedroom high rise flat. The word “give” has never been used in connection with my housing needs. Buy and Pay,yes,but not give. Bad word choice in my opinion.

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
23 days ago
Reply to  jane baker

All of those claimed virtues are contingent upon no direct cost or inconvenience. Many operate on the principle that money expended by the government is magic, yielding consequences for no one.

Fabio Paolo Barbieri
Fabio Paolo Barbieri
23 days ago

The Rwanda bill is a cretinous waste of time and resources that will, even if anything works, lodge a few migrants half-way across the world at prohibitive expense. What is needed is an efficient and fairly swift decision system, including a fair appeals procedure, followed by a swift removal procedure in case of failure. And massively reinforcing borders to diminish illegal entries.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
23 days ago

Is it not slightly inconsistent that Israelis in Israel are described as, “settlers”, but that term, and its implied criticism, is not applied to illegal migrants to the UK?

james elliott
james elliott
22 days ago

Why is this even controversial?

Legal immigration – within certain limits – is useful and perhaps even necessary; *illegal* immigrants should obviously be deported, and in similar numbers to which they came in.

Kat L
Kat L
21 days ago
Reply to  james elliott

Extreme limitations only