WASHINGTON – More than a third of Americans say that illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border is at a “crisis,” up 11 percentage points since January as Democrats have grown sharply more concerned about the issue, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
At the same time, Americans assign a similar level of blame to congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump for the situation, the survey finds, signaling that both political parties face challenges on immigration heading into the 2020 presidential election cycle.
The Trump administration is struggling to handle a surge of migrant families arriving at the southern border with Mexico, where the number of apprehensions by Customs and Border Protection topped 100,000 in March, the largest monthly total in a dozen years, according to federal data. Although Trump responded by installing new leadership at the Department of Homeland Security three weeks ago, the number of migrants was on pace to reach a similar level in April, authorities said.
The poll, conducted by cellular and landline telephone between April 22 and 25, finds that 35 percent of Americans believe the situation is a crisis, up from 24 percent in January. While that figure included a modest increase among Republicans and independents, the percentage of Democrats who agree jumped from 7 percent to 24 percent, nearly a quarter of the p arty.
A still-larger 45 percent plurality of the public overall says illegal immigration across the southern border is a serious problem but not a crisis, while 18 percent say it is not a serious problem.
The shifting views have altered the political calculus for Democrats, including the 20 candidates already in the race for the party’s presidential nomination, who have sought to challenge Trump’s hard-line rhetoric on immigration. Having once accused the…