September 12th, 2023

by Carl Campanile

Even in blue-leaning New York, a significant number of residents want the US government to construct a wall along the entire southern border with Mexico to curb illegal immigration, a new survey revealed.

The Siena College Poll released Tuesday found that roughly 4 in 10 New York State respondents — 41% — support the border wall championed by former Republican President Donald Trump and abandoned by his successor, Democratic President Biden.

Half of New Yorkers — 50% — said they oppose a border wall blanketing the entire southern border, with the remaining respondents undecided.

Even in the immigrant-heavy metropolis of New York City, 38% of residents said they support a border wall, as did 35% of Latinos.

New York City and the Empire State are considered “sanctuary” governments that welcome undocumented migrants who come here illegally.

There was a partisan divide — 77% of Republicans back a border wall compared to 24% of Democrats and 42% of unaffiliated or independent respondents.

Similarly, 42% of respondents said they believe immigrants “take in more resources than they return in economic activity or taxes”, while 48% disagreed, with the remainder undecided

Meanwhile nearly 4 in 10 residents — 38% — said “current migrants to the United States are the source of much of the illegal drugs entering our country”, while 53% disagreed.

Nearly one-third of residents — 31% —  said they believe “many of the people trying to immigrate to the United States are dangerous, potentially criminal people”, while almost two-thirds or 62% disagreed.

More than a third or 36% of poll takers agreed that “immigrants take jobs away from Americans that lived here for many years”,  while 60% disagreed.

Moreover, 35% of respondents said many migrants “want free hand-outs…and do not want to work” while 61% disagreed.

“Over 40% of all New Yorkers believe that immigrants take more than they offer society. About a third believe current migrants are dangerous, perhaps even criminal, only want hand-outs and are a source of illegal drugs. But in each of these cases more New Yorkers disagree with, rather than hold, these judgments,” said Siena College polling director Don Levy.

“Large majorities of Republicans see immigrants and current migrants as dangerous but
Democrats and independents disagree.”

There was good news for New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul — a solid majority of respondents supported their appeal for the federal government to speed up work permits for migrants and for using federal property such as Floyd Bennett Field as temporary shelters to house asylum-seekers.

Residents were asked, “Do you support or oppose making it easier for migrants currently in New York to be granted work authorizations regardless of their current immigration status?”

The response: 59% of respondents support accelerating work papers for migrants, while 33% were opposed.

They were also asked: “Do you support or oppose using federally owned land and buildings as temporary shelters for the current migrants now in New York?”

Fifty six percent of New Yorkers backed putting migrant shelters on federal property and facilities, while 36% of residents were opposed.

Another question: “Do you support or oppose a comprehensive immigration reform bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States?”

Sixty percent of New Yorkers agreed with making it possible for illegal immigrants to obtain citizenship, while 30% disagreed.

Other statements showed that New Yorkers are strongly pro-immigrant: 85% agreed that the U.S was built by immigrants, 84% said most migrants coming here want to build a better life, 78% said assimilation has made America great, 72% said immigrants bring a new vitality to the country, 69% said America should continue to live by…`Give me your tired, your poor,’” and 60% said businesses need new immigrants to take entry level jobs in order to be successful.

“Despite concerns that some New Yorkers have about the recent influx of migrants, 84% of all New Yorkers agree that most of the current migrants want only to build a better life for themselves and their family and 69% agree that America should continue to live by the words written on the Statue of Liberty, ‘Give me your tired, your poor…send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me’,” Siena pollster Levy said.

“There’s no doubt, the vast majority of New Yorkers recognize that our country was built by immigrants from virtually every nation around the globe and assimilating immigrants has made America great,” Levy noted.“Despite nearly a third saying that America no longer needs new immigrants, well over half and a majority of both Democrats and Republicans say that businesses need new immigrants in order to be successful. And, by 60-36%, New Yorkers do not believe that immigrants take jobs away from Americans that have lived here for years.”

The unrelenting influx of migrants to the Big Apple has stretched resources and provoked a backlash to the opening of shelters in the five boroughs as well as when they are bused to the suburbs.

Nearly 60,000 asylum seekers are currently being sheltered by the city, and some 110,000 have come through the five boroughs from the southern border since last spring, according to city officials.

A frustrated Mayor Eric Adams said of the migrant crisis, absent more federal and state intervention, “This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City.” Critics accused him of scare-mongering.

He also said the rising costs of assisting and sheltering migrants had turned into a “financial tsunami”, whose price tag could exceed $12 billion over the next three years.

Adams recently ordered city agencies to plan to slash their budgets up to 15% by next spring and has called for a hiring freeze and a crackdown on police overtime to help rein in costs to control a massive financial gap exacerbated by the migrant crisis.

A Siena College survey last month found that 82% of New Yorkers called the migrant influx a serious problem and 58% want to restrict the flow at the border.

The latest Siena College Poll was conducted from September 5 – 8 and surveyed 414 adults via landline and cell phones, while 386 responses were drawn from a proprietary online panel of New Yorkers. The results have an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

See the full New York Post article here.