In the wake of the 35-day partial U.S. government shutdown, a new Gallup poll shows a solid majority of Americans oppose the proposal at the heart of the gridlock: a wall.
Sixty percent of Americans oppose significant new construction to the existing barrier along the Mexican border. This is a 3 percent increase from a poll conducted in June during the midterm election season, which showed 57 percent opposing significant new construction.
According to Gallup, the three percentage point swing is not statistically significant, meaning public perception of wall construction did not change throughout the government shutdown.
Past polls on the issue of the border wall reported 71 percent opposed in 1993, 62 percent in 1995 and 56 percent in 2006. President Donald Trump’s promise of a border wall in his 2016 campaign brought opposition up to 66 percent in a 2016 poll, according to Gallup.
Gallup also questioned U.S. adults on other immigration policy issues. 81 percent of Americans favor allowing immigrants living legally in the U.S. the chance to become U.S. citizens, while 61 percent oppose deporting illegal immigrants back to their home country.
Gallup predicts the outcome of border negotiations will be favorable to Democrats, given public support for Democratic policies as well as the recent political victory over President Trump on the government shutdown.
Why this Matters
Despite losing the political battle of the government shutdown, The Trump Administration remains persistent that the government will fund and build a border wall. Reports from the White House indicate that the president is weighing a plan to declare a national emergency to funnel resources into the border wall.
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) claimed in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday the prospect of a national emergency declaration has “many Republicans shaking in their boots” because of the precedent it sets for the presidency.
Trump will likely use his State of the Union address to push for a border wall.
Activists say it would be terrible for the environment and threaten endangered species #SOTU pic.twitter.com/IYHbuj8b3T
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) February 4, 2019
The precedent, Baldwin claims, means a President can take money for one purpose, declare an emergency, and use it for another. If that claim is true, the president would be given inherent authority to arbitrarily declare what is or is not a national emergency.
Baldwin also said that a national emergency declaration would quickly get tied up in legal challenges. This would make the emergency declaration similar to Trump’s travel ban from 2017, the executive order for which was quickly challenged in court.
To prevent another government shutdown, and a potential national emergency, lawmakers have to reach an agreement on border security by February 15 – the deadline for the 3-week opening of the government.
There are current negotiations attempting to reach a compromise for a border security plan. Nancy Pelosi said in a press conference on January 31 that any proposal that comes out of Congress will not contain any money for a border wall, bringing into question whether Trump will sign a future bill before the deadline.
President Trump declared congressional negotiations a waste of time in a January 30 tweet. Politico reported on January 30 that a White House Senior official indicated the office of the President is preparing to have the declaration for a national emergency 100 percent ready to curtail legal challenges.
More on the Subject
President Donald Trump gave his strongest indication yet Friday that he will soon declare a state of emergency, bypassing the need for congressional approval to fund a controversial U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Trump hinted in remarks at a White House meeting on cross-border trafficking that a declaration — which would further heat the political temperature around the issue — could even come in his State of the Union speech to Congress next Tuesday.
“Well, I’m saying listen closely to the State of the Union, I think you’ll find it very exciting,” Trump said.