Illegal immigration and people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border have been political hot potatoes for years, heating up especially over the last few months.
The Pew Research Center recently surveyed America to gather their opinions on the issues.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say the federal government is doing a very bad or somewhat bad job dealing with the increased number of people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
That number isn’t surprising. Yuma has been a focal point in this issue, and we’ve witnessed firsthand the strain on the Border Patrol and the community. The government’s reticence to find solutions has presented challenges here, and pushed a federal problem on to local entities.
At the same time, 86% of respondents said it was either very or somewhat important to increase the number of judges handling asylum cases, Pew reports. That makes sense. The system is overwhelmed, and more judges on hand would likely be part of a helpful solution.
Pew also found that 82% of respondents feel that it is important to provide safe and sanitary conditions for asylum seekers once they arrive in the U.S., which supports efforts already underway to increase the facility space in areas like the Yuma Sector.
Respondents — 74% — also said it is important to stem the flow of people reaching the border, and 69% said it is important to provide more assistance to asylum seekers’ home countries, Pew reports.
Pew also found that there is “broad public support for path to legal status for undocumented immigrants,” with nearly three-quarters of Americans (72%) saying that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally if certain conditions are met.
Yuma County has had a unique perspective of these issues, sitting on the front lines of the border as thousands of people illegally crossed to declare asylum here. Our Border Patrol agents and processing systems were overwhelmed, and the community and the Salvation Army pitched in to help. While there has been a recent decline in asylum seekers, the issue is far from resolved.
The Pew survey gives us interesting insight into America’s perspective, but it begs the question: what do you think, Yuma? Do you agree with the Pew respondents?