That immigration has in the last few years become one of the most salient political issues in the country is something restrictionists have celebrated. Over the last two decades it has gone from being a fifth- or sixth-tier issue to being the paramount concern of Republican voters. Donald Trump is president because of it. His only serious opponent in the 2016 primaries was, by the squishy standards of the modern GOP, an immigration hardliner in his own right.
But as Republican politicians and their front organizations have been forced to pay attention to the national question, an Ellis Island revival has swept the rest of the country. When I first began looking at national polling on immigration in the early 2000s, it was taken for granted that every survey on the question would find overwhelming support for a reduction in immigration, a modest amount of support for leaving levels unchanged, and single-digit support for increasing them. Every time the Uniparty in DC tried to lower the drawbridge to the rest of the world, middle America would slam it shut.
The sentiments driving Americans to keep America American are now, less than twenty years later, mostly gone. Today a plurality favors increasing the number of legal immigrants into the country. Young, wealthy Democrats–Silicon Valley check–are zealously in favor of doing so. The following graph shows percentages in favor of increasing and of decreasing LEGAL (YouGov only capitalizes the adjective in perfect boomer form) immigration by several demographic characteristics. Those wanting no change in current levels or who are “not sure” are not shown:
Trump has been disastrous for the prospects of less immigration into the US. Having wildly overpromised and miserably undelivered on the issue, he has demoralized his supporters and galvanized his enemies. Because of the empty bloviating about turning the tide, his opponents–and they are legion–equate support for ever more immigration with #Resistance against the Orange Man. How does a goodwhite virtue signal hostility towards Trump? By supporting open borders, that’s how.