Amidst battles over which immigrants, undocumented or not, should be allowed to enter the United States, most Americans believe that immigrants make the country stronger. And that is above the median across a number of nations.
Pew, the research organization, asked whether immigrants make our country stronger because of their work or talent or they are a burden our country by taking jobs and social services. Fifty-nine percent of Americans said stronger, while 34% responded weaker. Some states have much larger groups of immigrants than others. Across 18 major nations, the median was 56% said stronger and 38% viewed immigrants as a burden. The countries covered host over half the world’s immigrants.
The countries where the questions were asked were Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The nations with the highest percentage of those questioned believing immigrants make their country stronger where Canada at 68% and Australia at 64%. At the bottom, only 5% of those asked in Hungary answered in the affirmative, ahead of Greece at 10% and Italy at 12%. Pew researchers commented, “In 10 of the countries surveyed, majorities view immigrants as a strength rather than a burden. Among them are some of the largest migrant receiving countries in the world: the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and Australia (each hosting more than 7 million immigrants in 2017).”
Political preference was vital to whether people answered in the affirmative. This was more the case in the United States than anywhere else. Of those who defined themselves on the “left” of the political spectrum, 83% believe that immigrants make the country stronger. Of those on the “right,” the figure was 37%. No other nation had such a large spread between left and right.
Among the other conclusions of the study were answers to the question of whether immigrants are “no more to blame for crime” or “more to blame for crime” than other people. In the United States, 77% said immigrants are no more to blame for crime, second only to Canada at 80%. The median across the 18 countries was 50%.
Finally, the question of whether immigrants increase terrorism. Some 56% of Americans said they did not. The median among all 18 nations was 48%. At the top of the list, Mexico’s residents said 65% of immigrants do not increase terrorism. At the bottom, only 16% of Italians responded in the positive.
Regarding its methodology, Pew said its international surveys are done by telephone or face-to-face interviews, depending on the nation.