A new survey from the Pew Research Center shows that nearly half of Americans say immigration to the U.S. should be decreased. This marks the 50th year since passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which has resulted in increased immigration to the U.S. and substantial demographic changes.
According to the poll, 49 percent of Americans say immigration should be decreased, 34 percent say it should remain at its present level, and 15 percent think it should be increased.
The report’s findings are more striking among Republicans, where two thirds say immigration to the U.S. should be decreased. Thirty-three percent of Democrats also say immigration should be cut.
Meanwhile, native-born Americans were also more likely than immigrants to want immigration reduced, 51 percent to 30 percent, respectively.
“When it comes to the government deciding who should be allowed to legally immigrate to the United States, a majority (56%) would prefer giving priority to people who are highly educated and highly skilled workers, even if they don’t have family members in the U.S., over people who have family members already living in the U.S., even if they are not highly educated or highly skilled workers (37%),” the report reads.
The Pew survey of 3,147 adults from the from the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel was conducted online from March 10 to April 6, 2015 and has a margin of error of +/-2.4 percentage points.
The results were released as part of Pew’s newest report on the impact immigration has had on the U.S.
Pew’s analysis revealed that the population of foreign born people in the U.S. is at a near record 14 percent, that America is already host to about 20 percent of the world’s immigrants, and highlights how the Immigration Nationality Act of 1965 has changed the demographic make-up of the U.S.
“As a result of its changed makeup and rapid growth, new immigration since 1965 has altered the nation’s racial and ethnic composition,” the Pew analysis reads. “In 1965, 84% of Americans were non-Hispanic whites. By 2015, that share had declined to 62%. Meanwhile, the Hispanic share of the U.S. population rose from 4% in 1965 to 18% in 2015. Asians also saw their share rise, from less than 1% in 1965 to 6% in 2015.”
According to Pew, in the coming 50 years, if immigration policies remain the same, immigrants and their decedents will account for 88 percent of U.S. population growth and non-Hispanic whites will no longer be in the majority at 46 percent of the population. Asians will also overtake Latinos as the U.S. largest immigrant group.