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Americans say immigration most important national issue for first time since 2019 in Gallup poll

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Americans say immigration is the most important issue facing the U.S., according to a new Gallup poll.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents cited immigration as the top issue facing the country, up from 20 percent who said the same a month ago. More than half of those surveyed in the February poll said that “large numbers of immigrants entering the United States illegally” is a critical threat to U.S. vital interests.

It’s the first time the issue has topped the Gallup list since 2019, when the number of border crossings by migrants from Central America was surging.

Republicans are largely responsible for the jump, according to pollsters. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans surveyed selected immigration as the top issue, an increase from 37 percent in January. There was a small increase in the percentage of independents who selected immigration, and no meaningful change in the percentage of Democrats who did so.

The response comes amid weeks of Washington back-and-forth over immigration and border policy. House Republicans recently tanked a bipartisan border bill advanced by the Senate, with Speaker Mike Johnson declaring it dead on arrival. Former President Donald Trump, the likely GOP nominee for president, pushed members of his party to block the bipartisan proposal, denying President Joe Biden a signature immigration policy achievement ahead of the November election.

Twenty percent of those polled ranked “Government,” as the top issue facing the country, the second highest percentage of any option. Government ranked first in January and ranked first each month from January 2023 to November 2023.

The poll surveyed 1,016 adults and was conducted from Feb. 1 through Feb. 20 via telephone. The margin of sampling error is +/-4 percentage points.