As anti-immigrant sentiments continue to rise worldwide, American citizens remain among the most welcoming populations in the world, a Pew Research Center survey of people in 27 countries published on Monday found.
About 24 percent of Americans said the government should allow more immigrants to enter the country – a figure that’s significantly higher than the 27-nation median of 14 percent.
The only country with a higher percentage of people who said more immigrants should be allowed in was Spain with 28 percent.
Only 29 percent of U.S. citizens said the country should admit fewer or no immigrants while 44 percent said admissions should remain about the same. Comparatively, about 46 percent of all survey respondents said their country should admit fewer or no immigrants.
Pew’s findings suggest that President Donald Trump’s harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies are not broadly reflective of the attitudes of the American people.
Trump has made building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border to keep migrants out a center of his political platform since announcing he would run for president in 2015.
He also made refugees – particularly those fleeing the war in Syria – a target of his anti-immigrant rhetoric while running for president, suggesting without evidence that many were undercover ISIS agents seeking to infiltrate the U.S. and calling for a “total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
After a long court battle, Trump successfully imposed a travel ban that targets predominantly Muslim countries and has slashed refugee admissions. And while no wall has been built yet, Trump deployed the U.S. military to the border during the run-up to November’s midterm elections to protect the country from a migrant caravan largely made up of women and children.
— CNN (@CNN) January 30, 2017
While Trump’s desire to curb migration into the U.S. is widely shared by his conservative base, Pew’s survey shows most Americans are relatively supportive of immigration, particularly compared to Europeans.
About 51 percent of respondents from the 10 European countries included in the survey said that fewer or no immigrants should be admitted to their country, while just 10 percent said more should be.
The most hostile countries to immigration were Greece, Hungary, and Italy, where more than 70 percent of people said they want less or no immigration and fewer than 5 percent said they want more.
Pew notes that each of these countries has served as a popular transit or destination countries during Europe’s recent surge in asylum seekers.
The U.S. has opposed the pact since the idea was floated in 2016, and Hungary, Australia, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Italy have all defected or expressed serious reservations.
Proponents, however, argue that a comprehensive international framework to address the migration crisis is necessary, particularly as experts anticipate that climate change and other factors will worsen the crisis going forward.
Also released on Monday was a Gallup Poll that found that about 750 million people worldwide would migrate to another country if they could, an increase from prior figures.
The regions with the most people who said they’d like to migrate were Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Non-E.U. European countries and the Middle East and Northern Africa.
The most desired destination country remains the U.S., which has the highest total foreign-born population in the world with about 44.5 million immigrants.
The Gallup Poll also found an uptick in Americans who said they would like to migrate to another country if they could since 2016.