The US Capitol
Republicans say Democrats don't want to implement a needed crackdown on immigration and Democrats retort that their opponents go too far and oppose viable measures AFP

Republicans this year rejected a bipartisan package that allocated $15 billion to border security policies after Donald Trump, the expected GOP presidential candidate, said it didn't go far enough.

But new figures from a Wall Street Journal poll show that almost 60% of respondents said they would support the package, "with roughly equal percentages of Republicans and Democrats in favor."

Immigration has been dominating the political conversation in the U.S. and is set to continue doing so during the electoral year. Both parties have traded barbs, with Republicans saying Democrats don't want to implement the crackdown that is needed and Democrats accusing their opponents of going too far and opposing viable measures to score political points by painting them as unwilling to implement any.

Most voters, in the meantime, support different policies that would increase legal migration and grant citizenship to people who have been in the country for years. Concretely, 66% said they would support creating a mechanism for Dreamers to gain citizenship and 74% back a pathway to citizenship for "undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for many years and pass a background check." Over half of respondents (58%) also supported increasing the legal level of immigration to the country.

As hopes of bipartisan compromise look far away, President Joe Biden is expected to blame Republicans for walking away from a set of tough, viable package.

Biden is seeking to change voters' perspective on who's to blame for the stalemate, as 45% of respondents in the WSJ poll agreed with "the statement that Biden had allowed more illegal immigration by reversing executive orders that Trump had put in place as president, and that Biden had powers to seal the border but failed to use them." In contrast, 39% agreed that Republicans killed the bipartisan deal because Trump told them he didn't want to help Democrats pass legislation.

In this context, the Biden administration has been weighing implementing unilateral actions, including making it harder to qualify for asylum and easier to quickly deport people who don't meet the criteria. CBS News also indicated that it is contemplating a tougher measure: a sweeping presidential authority that allows him to "suspend the entry" of foreigners when it is determined that their arrival is not in the best interest of the country. And Axios said that the order would give the administration the ability to turn asylum seekers away if they cross illegally.

The likely GOP nominee has adopted a much more combative rhetoric, blasting migrants and anticipating he would conduct an unprecedented crackdown.

Moreover, the the Niskanen Center, a Washington-Based think tank, has published an in-depth report revealing an intricate set of proposals that could significantly reshape the United States' immigration landscape.

Unlike previous conservative approaches that emphasized merit-based immigration, assimilation, and interior enforcement, these proposals seek to systematically dismantle the existing immigration system, according to the report.

Trump has also said he will use local police to carry out deportations of immigrants who crossed the southern border illegally should he be elected in this year's elections.

According to a recent Gallup poll, an increasingly growing number of Americans consider immigration to be the most important problem facing the country, above the government and the economy.

Overall, 28% of respondents said that was the case in February, an increase of eight percentage points compared to the previous month. It has surpassed the government (20%) and the combination of the "economy in general" (12%) and inflation (11%), over this time period.

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