Issued September 21, 2023
WASHINGTON, DC – A majority of American voters support the Biden administration using Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as a popular policy solution for current immigration challenges, according to a new poll jointly commissioned by FWD.us and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Conducted in the days leading up to the Biden administration’s decision to redesignate TPS for Venezuela, the poll confirms there is strong, bipartisan support for using the program as an effective legal pathway to provide eligible undocumented immigrants in the U.S. with swift access to work authorization and deportation protections for 18 months.
The poll surveyed 800 likely 2024 voters in battleground states and found overwhelming support across the political spectrum for the continued use of TPS and additional policy solutions given the recent increase in asylum seekers fleeing armed conflict, violence, persecution, environmental disaster, and other humanitarian crises in their home countries.
“This poll shows clearly that in the absence of immigration reform, voters support pragmatic solutions to our nation’s dysfunctional immigration system. Granting TPS to individuals from countries that have become too dangerous to return to is a win-win for our values and our economy. As healthcare workers, janitors, airport workers, and other essential roles across the service and care economy, workers with TPS contribute billions of dollars in wages and taxes to the U.S. economy each year. We encourage the Biden administration to continue to use its executive power to redesignate TPS for countries that qualify,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.
“Battleground voters overwhelmingly support TPS designations like last night’s critical news, and they want to see President Biden continue to take these very popular steps. Across partisan lines, this poll once again shows that inaction is not an option,” said FWD.us President Todd Schulte. “The President’s decision to redesignate TPS for Venezuela is consistent with the growing movement for utilizing smart legal pathways as the future of protecting currently undocumented people and managing migration more effectively, a movement that wants concrete actions that inject reality into the conversation and puts reformers back on offense.”
In redesignating TPS for Venezuela, President Biden made a very popular decision with the American electorate with 67% of battleground state voters supporting this news. The concept of TPS is widely supported, as is President Biden’s decision to use it to protect immigrants whose home countries are considered unsafe. Consider the following:
A strong majority (66% support/25% oppose) support the TPS program, when described as a “program that gives immigrants whose home countries are considered unsafe the ability to live and work in the United States temporarily.”
A similarly strong majority (68% support/26% oppose) support Biden’s usage of TPS to “allow immigrants from war-torn countries to live and work in the United States while it’s unsafe to return to their home countries.”
President Biden’s usage of TPS is supported by many key constituencies, including Hispanics (72% support/24% oppose) and Independent voters (63%/25%). It’s nearly universally supported by Democrats (90%/7%), while dividing the Republican electorate (47%/47%).
A key reason why President Biden’s decision on the TPS program is popular is because voters want to see action on immigration. Voters see TPS as part of a broader solution to address the situation at the border and fix the country’s failed immigration system.
Voters want action: By a 54%-40% margin, voters want to see President Biden “take action to address the immigration system in the country” over “focusing on other issues first.”
61% support taking action, with TPS as a first step:“Those who say that to solve the situation at the border, we must invest in border security but also fix our legal immigration system by creating orderly, legal pathways for those seeking asylum. Using TPS has reduced illegal immigration at the border in the past this way and is the first step to fixing our broken immigration system.”
39% support inaction, opposing using TPS: “Those who say we should not provide TPS to these migrants because it will encourage more and more illegal immigration which will further overwhelm American states and cities.”
Voters support using TPS for Venezuela, and in fact support this for a number of countries. The aforementioned questions receiving strong support were all phrased generically about immigrants whose home countries are considered unsafe, rather than being specifically about any single country. When asking specifically about different countries or regions, there was little distinction in the results. For example, 67%-69% of voters, depending on the countries and regions named, support TPS for immigrants from Venezuela, Central America, or from African countries considered unsafe.
Further, when we ask specifically about President Biden using the program more widely – by using TPS to “ensure additional immigrants are protected from deportation” – support remains very high (60% support/30% oppose).