Most in new poll see Mexico as partner in stopping drug trafficking, illegal border crossings


Most Americans believe Mexico’s government shares responsibility with the U.S. to curb drug trafficking and illegal border crossings, while few view the southern neighbor as a close ally, according to a new study.  

A poll from the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 64 percent of participants said both the U.S. and Mexican governments are responsible for preventing immigrants from Mexico entering the U.S. illegally, while 73 percent said both governments are responsible for preventing illegal drug trafficking.

About 62 percent said they believe only the Mexican government is responsible for combating organized crime in Mexico. 

Despite these high numbers, only 16 percent of adults view Mexico as a close ally, and more adults were likely to have an unfavorable view — 38 percent — of Mexico’s leadership than a favorable one — 12 percent. About 7 in 10 described the U.S.’s relationship with Mexico as at least friendly while 3 in 10 said it was more adversarial. 

The poll’s numbers come amid mounting pressure on both the U.S. and Mexico governments to prevent illegal border crossings in the wake of rising migrant encounters at the southwest border in recent months. Officials expect border crossings to remain high, regardless of U.S. border policy. 

The Biden administration has tried to fend off criticism from both sides of the aisle over the president’s immigration policies, as Republicans push for greater border security and Democrats demand more action on asylum-seekers. 

About 8 in 10 said they think illegal immigration prevention across the U.S.-Mexico border is an important foreign policy goal, while more than 7 in 10 said the same for creating more opportunities for legal immigration and increasing trade with Mexico. 

Democrats were more likely than Republicans to prioritize more opportunities for legal immigration — 57 percent to 25 percent — while Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to prioritize illegal immigration prevention — 80 percent to 35 percent. 

“The public believes immigration is a key U.S. foreign policy issue with Mexico that both countries are responsible for improving,” said David Sterrett, a senior research scientist with The AP-NORC Center. “Most adults view Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. legally favorably, but few have positive views of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.” 

Meanwhile, a majority of Americans, or 65 percent, still have a favorable view of Mexican culture, with 60 percent saying they engage with Mexican culture within the U.S. and 83 percent reporting interactions with those of Mexican heritage. 

“This study shows that many adults in the U.S. engage with Mexican culture, and this engagement is related to their attitudes toward Mexican immigrants,” said Sheila Kohanteb, forum executive director at the Pearson Institute for Study and Resolution of Global Conflict, in a statement. “People who have engaged with Mexican culture in the U.S. are more likely than those who have not to hold favorable opinions of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. both legally and illegally.” 

The study was confused between Sept. 21-25 among 1,191 adults 18 and older from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The overall margin of sampling error is 3.8 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. 

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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