We founded RocaNews because we wanted news companies to give us just the facts – not tell us what to think. That inspired us to create the “Roca Votes” Wrap, in which we summarize a controversial topic and see how the Roca audience feels about it.
2023 was a year of great debates: Israel vs. Palestine, Barbie vs. Oppenheimer, supporting Ukraine, the rise of generative AI, Taylor Swift, and more.
Last week we asked our Roca audience to consider the biggest debate of 2023, and received a diverse set of answers. They ranged from whether Florida State should’ve made the college football playoff to how generative AI should be implemented in the classroom.
But there’s one topic that appeared repeatedly in responses: Immigration.
In 2023, the immigration debate hit a fever pitch in the US and Europe with potentially massive implications for the year ahead. We are curious to see your thoughts on it – but first, some context.
In the US, border officials encountered a record 2.5M migrants at the southern border in 2023, dwarfing previous years’ totals. As recently as 2017, that number was ~300,000.
Amid the surge in migrants and pressure from Democratic politicians, the Biden administration announced it would build a new section of border wall. That marked a 180-degree turn from the Biden campaign’s 2020 pledge to not build any new wall segments.
Other Democratic politicians including New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker have called on Washington, DC to address the migrant crisis.
NYC officials say the Big Apple has welcomed 161,000 new migrants over the last year and a half, resulting in a shortage of money and overflowing facilities.
This week, Chicago’s mayor said, "All of our cities have reached a point where we are either close to capacity, or nearly out of room.”
On Saturday, at a rally in New Hampshire, President Trump said, “They let — I think the real number is 15, 16 million people into our country. When they do that, we got a lot of work to do. They’re poisoning the blood of our country.” He repeated this claim on Truth Social, writing in all caps, “illegal immigration is poisoning the blood of our nation. They’re coming from prisons, from mental institutions — from all over the world.”
Other Republican candidates intensified their rhetoric on the immigration issue. Former candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, for example, called for the US to end “birthright citizenship,” where anyone born in the country is granted citizenship.
Similarly in Europe: The numbers of people illegally entering the continent are at their highest levels since the migrant crisis of 2015-16. The trend is fueling support for anti-immigration politicians in Italy, Germany, Finland, Austria, France, and elsewhere.
In recent elections in the Netherlands – by many metrics one of the world’s most progressive countries – a party that has promised to outlaw the Quran and ban mosque construction won the most votes and seats.
With that context, we ask the question(s) of the day: Is the surge in immigration a function of US/EU policies, or out of their control? Do you consider the US’ and Europe’s immigration situations to be crises? For better or for worse, do you think immigration is changing your country’s culture?
Let us know what you think by replying to this email!