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Americans more open to increased immigration than most Europeans

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Americans are more open to increased immigration than most Europeans, though far more people around the world would like to see a decrease in immigration overall, according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center.

Pew surveyed 27 countries this spring on their views on immigration. Together, Pew reported, these 27 countries house more than half of the world’s international migrants. Of those surveyed, 45% said fewer or no immigrants should be allowed into their country while 36% said they want just about the same number of immigrants — including the U.S.

Among European countries, 82% of Greeks said they would like fewer immigrants to be allowed into the country, which has, since 2015, struggled with a surge of migrants and refugees escaping civil war in Syria. Nearly three-quarters of Hungarians, 71% of Italians, and 58% of Germans also believe fewer immigrants should be allowed to move to their countries, which have also been heavily affected by the refugee crisis.

In the U.S., only 29% of Americans want a decrease in immigration while 44% think about the same amount of immigrants should be allowed in. Nearly a quarter of Americans want immigration to increase. In Mexico, currently facing a surge in Central American migrants, 44% of those surveyed said they wanted immigration to decrease in the country, while 42% said they wanted it to stay the same.

Read more: Jeff Sessions said immigrants should ‘wait their turn’ to come to the US — here’s how complicated that process can be

Spain and Japan are among the most open to the idea of increased immigration, with 28% and 23% of their respective populations opting for more open borders. Japan, known for its isolationist policies and historically low immigration numbers, is currently facing a dire economic threat — its population is getting older.

The Pew report also found that outmigration is widely seen as a problem among the nations surveyed. Greeks (89%) and Spaniards (88%) are the most worried about the number of people leaving their countries, which Pew reported have seen an increase in people moving abroad in recent years. Eight out of 10 Mexicans also see outmigration as a problem. Mexico, according to the United Nations, has one of the largest numbers of people living outside their country, second only to India. But only 64% of those surveyed by Pew in India think outmigration is a problem.

Published on December 10, the report came out the same day global representatives gathered in Morocco to sign the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The non-legally binding agreement, backed by Angela Merkel, was created to manage migration for both origin and destination countries but was rejected by several nations, including the U.S., Chile, and Australia.

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