Majority of U.S. Likely Voters Support Access to Asylum at the U.S. Southern Border

WASHINGTON—The majority of likely voters across the United States are supportive of access to asylum at the U.S. southern border by a margin of +20 percent, according to a new poll released today by Data for Progress, the Refugee Advocacy Lab, and Refugees International. The poll was conducted twice from May 17 through 21, just a week after Title 42 – a pandemic-era restriction that allowed authorities to turn people seeking asylum away from the border – was lifted. 

Support for access to asylum at the U.S. southern border is especially high among Democrats, young Americans, and Black Americans. Independents support border access to asylum by +23 percent. A majority of Republican likely voters oppose border asylum access, but even among that cohort more than a third of likely voters support. 

These results underscore that despite the political hubbub around Title 42, access to asylum at the border – as guaranteed in current U.S. law – enjoys majority support, with opposition driven largely by Republican likely voters. Topline findings of the poll include: 

  • Access to asylum at the border enjoys +20 percent support among likely voters, with a majority (55 percent) support overall and just 35 percent of likely voters in opposition.
  • 77 percent of Democrats are supportive; as well as 55 percent of Independent/third party likely voters; and more than one in three Republicans (34 percent).
  • 62 percent of likely voters under 45 support, as do 65 percent of Black likely voters. 
  • Support for access to asylum at the border yields majority opposition only from Republican likely voters.

“This confirms what I have seen at the border: Americans want to welcome,” said Refugees International’s Director for the Americas and Europe Yael Schacher. “Ensuring people can seek asylum is not only the right thing to do, it’s also popular. Policy makers— and certainly Democrats in Congress—should focus on improving asylum rather than undermining it.” 

“This poll makes clear that the loudest critics of asylum aren’t actually representative of the country at large—they are well outside the mainstream of U.S. public opinion,” said Refugees International President and former senior U.S. official Jeremy Konyndyk. “It is really disappointing that the current administration, with its new and sweeping asylum restrictions, is listening more to these minority voters than to the mainstream. As this research shows, a more humane asylum approach is both good policy and good politics.” 

“This new data reflects what we see in communities across the country,” said Kate Brick, Director of the Refugee Advocacy Lab. “Americans understand the value in welcoming newcomers, and particularly at the state and local level, can tangibly see the long-term benefits to our economy, workforce, and social fabric when we create the conditions for immigrants and refugees to thrive.”  

Consistent with polling conducted last fall from Data for Progress and the Refugee Advocacy Lab, the poll also found that the majority of likely voters (71 percent) support the U.S. refugee resettlement program. 


For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Refugees International’s Vice President for Strategic Outreach and Communications Lead for the Refugee Advocacy Lab Sarah Sheffer at 

Featured Image: A family seeking safety at an encampment on Friday, February, 24, 2023 in Matamoros, Mexico. (Sergio Flores for The Washington Post via Getty Images)