Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
search
Most Americans support helping Afghan and climate refugees

Most Americans support helping Afghan and climate refugees

The October Mood of the Nation poll asked respondents to tell us their reasonings behind why support or oppose the relocation of Afghan refugees and Americans displaced by extreme weather events into their local communities.

In examining the reasons for supporting local resettlement efforts for Afghan refugees, two themes emerged. Many respondents expressed universal values of charity, but many more felt a strong sense of obligation and debt to Afghans who put their lives in danger by assisting U.S. troops and officials as translators, drivers, gathering intelligence, and the like. Explanations for opposing efforts to locally resettle Afghan refugees largely reflected two related themes: solving America’s domestic problems first, and a more general opposition to immigration.

Read the Full Report

Key Takeaways

A strong majority and virtually identical proportion of American adults indicate support for the statement that the U.S. should help Afghans who helped U.S. troops (83%) as well as the statement that the U.S. should help Americans who lost their homes in recent floods, hurricanes and wildfires (81%).

When asked whether they would support the efforts of charitable and religious organizations to resettle the displaced groups in “your local community” support diverges somewhat: o An even higher proportion of Americans, 93%, supports such assistance for fellow Americans displaced by extreme weather, perhaps indicating a preference among some for support from non-governmental sectors over “the U.S.” government.

A somewhat smaller majority, 76%, supports resettlement of Afghan refugees in their local communities. ▪ Follow-up questions reveal that many support helping the two displaced groups out of a sense of charity or, in the case of Afghan refugees, a sense of obligation and fulfilling promises made by U.S. forces.

Many among the minority who would be opposed to efforts to resettle Afghan refugees gave reasons that indicated a desire to solve domestic problems prior to helping foreign nationals, or discomfort with introducing a different cultural background to their local area.

In addition, responses vary by political affiliation, with 90% of Democrats indicating support for local settlement of Afghan refugees compared to 61% of Republicans.

Over two-thirds of Americans indicate that they would be willing to personally contribute to the efforts of charities and religious organizations working to resettle Afghan refugees in their local communities.

Even more—four-fifths—of Americans indicate that they would be willing to volunteer time or donate their resources to efforts to bring displaced Americans to their local communities.

Over 60% of most demographic groups included in our analysis would contribute to efforts of charities and religious organizations working to settle Afghan refugees in their local area; 75% or more of nearly all groups would support such work on behalf of Americans displaced by fire and floods.