CBS’ Margaret Brennan shocked that most Americans back deporting illegal immigrants

CBS “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan struggled to digest numbers from a recent poll showing nearly two in three Americans support mass deportation of illegal immigrants.

Brennan appeared incredulous when pondering recent figures on Sunday showing that 62% of all Americans back, “in principle, a new government program to deport all undocumented immigrants living in the US illegally.”

The “Face the Nation” host reacted to survey figures presented by Anthony Salvanto, the top CBS News pollster, who noted that supporters of former President Donald Trump as well as some Democrats were in favor of mass deportations. The segment was reported on Sunday by the news site Mediaite.

CBS “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan reacted on Sunday to poll numbers showing a majority of Americans support mass deportations of undocumented migrants. CBS News
Nearly two in three of those polled say they back a government plan to round up illegal immigrants and deport them. CBS News

In response to Salvanto’s reading of the numbers, Brennan remarked that the Biden administration “has already deported or repatriated more people in the past year than any year since 2010.”

In late December, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued its annual report showing that the agency deported 142,000 undocumented migrants in fiscal year 2023 — almost double the number from the year before.

Brennan also remarked on reports that former President Donald Trump plans a massive immigration crackdown should he win a second term in office, including removals of undocumented that would entail bypassing process hearings.

Trump has vowed to deliver the “largest mass deportation effort” in American history if he gets back into office next year, targeting millions of illegal migrants across the country.

Anthony Salvanto, the top CBS News pollster, noted that supporters of former President Donald Trump as well as some Democrats were in favor of mass deportations. CBS News

Brennan said Sunday that “some of what Mr. Trump talks about could be illegal.”

“It doesn’t seem practical, in some sense, to round up children,” the CBS News anchor said.

“And then we know that the courts have questioned whether local authorities would have the ability to do it. And federal authorities don’t have the resources. So what exactly do people think they’re supporting?”

Salvanto said that “we are in a different era” in which “folks say the system as a whole is not working.”

Since President Biden came into office, some 7.2 million undocumented migrants have crossed into the US. James Breeden for the New York Post

He said the support for mass deportations is “part of that reaction against it, which explains some of that general sentiment for some of these policies.”

“It’s really just kind of a ‘Do something,’” Brennan said.

The Post has sought comment from CBS News, the Trump campaign and the Department of Homeland Security.

Since Biden entered office in early 2021, some 7.2 million undocumented migrants have crossed into the US, according to a Fox News analysis.

Last week, the Biden administration announced that it would bar asylum for undocumented migrants who cross into the country if illegal crossings exceed 2,500 per day for seven consecutive days — a “crackdown” that will still allow at least 1.8 million asylum seekers into America each year even if fully enforced.

Migrants waiting to be processed by Border Patrol after crossing into California from Mexico last week. James Breeden for the New York Post

The order, due to take effect immediately, will bar additional illegal immigrants from applying for asylum during periods of heavy traffic, but would lift those restrictions two weeks after daily crossings average 1,500 per day for seven days, administration officials said.

Even if migration is limited to 2,500 per day for a full calendar year, the number of crossings would reach 912,500.

Despite the purported “crackdown,” video taken Thursday by The Post shows hundreds of migrants from China and Turkey crossing the border unhindered into California.

Former President Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration should we win a second term in office. James Breeden for the New York Post

In response to backlash from Democratic voters, the Biden administration is reportedly on the verge of announcing a plan that would shield undocumented spouses of US citizens from deportation and allow them to work in the country legally — providing some with an easier path to eventually gain legal status.

The all-time record for immigration stops was set in fiscal year 2023, when more than 3.2 million people were stopped.

In fiscal year 2022, more than 2.7 million were apprehended. So far this fiscal year, nearly 2 million people have been stopped. In fiscal year 2021, more than 1.9 million were stopped attempting to enter the US.

Border Patrol encounters with illegal migrants were significantly lower under Trump. 

The previous peak was in 2019, when Border Patrol encountered more than 1.1 million migrants. In 2020, the number went down to 646,822, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional reporting by Josh Christenson, Diana Glebova, Jennie Taer and Steven Nelson