But, first, it must be pointed out that refugees are an immigration group/issue that has caused endless confusion.
Those who SUCCESSFULLY (meaning approved by the immigration system to stay) come here to seek "refuge" only amount to around 50,000 to 75,000 of the 1 million legal immigrants we yearly take in. The admitted number is minuscule compared to the total amount of refugees in the world, but the public does not know that is the case. There is also the much repeated issue of "immigrants getting housing benefits that citizens don't get". The confused citizen's complaint is directed toward immigrants generally, but it is actually ONLY THE SMALL NUMBER OF ADMITTED REFUGEES that get the temporary housing benefit (around 6 months of benefits I think, but I forget the exact number).
Now the actual issue:
Ronald Reagan was big on wanting to allow every possible refugee in the world a chance to migrate here and become a citizen (it was often couched as a "freedom to choose liberty over communism" type of issue), and his SHINNING CITY ON A HILL speech actually considered any desiring person in the world (regardless of refugee status) to be welcome to come to the country (his United States) he saw as a beacon of freedom. Everybody in the world, in Reagan's imagination, had keys to the door of the radiant nation Reagan led.
What does the public think, and specifically in 2019?
Let us look at the polls:
quote: Grinnell College National Poll conducted by Selzer & Co. Nov. 24-27, 2018 1,000 adults nationwide
This question is about refugees, meaning people who flee violence and persecution in their home countries. Do you think the U.S. does or does not have a moral responsibility to grant asylum to refugees so they can live in the U.S. permanently?
Does not 37%
Currently, do you think there are too many, a lot but not too many, or not too many refugees allowed into the U.S.?
As you may know, several thousand refugees have left Honduras and other Central American countries to escape the situation there. Would you approve or disapprove of allowing these refugees to come into this country?
This indicates support for refugees coming here, which, in my opinion, is good.
But it should not be confused with anti-immigration sentiment generally. Such as "illegal" border crossings.
ABC News/Washington Post Poll Jan. 8-11, 2019 788 adults nationwide
Do you think the situation with illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border is currently a crisis, a serious problem but not a crisis, or not a serious problem?
A crisis 24
A serious problem but not a crisis 47
Not a serious problem 26
Not a problem 1
71% seem to see immigrants as a "problem", as the question indicates, though some polled might consider the border security the "problem". (and the 26% who said it was "Not a serious problem" probably did not know that THIS SPECIFIC answer, when among the range of choices, also indicates immigration is a "problem", though almost all of the 26% likely did not think of their answer to be taken as such an indication)
quote: CNN Poll conducted by SSRS Jan. 10-11, 2019 848 adults nationwide
Thinking about the current situation at the border between the United States and Mexico, do you consider the situation at the border to be a crisis, or not?" If a crisis: "Do you think that building a wall along the entire border with Mexico would help solve the crisis, would make the crisis worse, or would it not have any effect on it?
A crisis: Wall would help 31
A crisis: Wall would make it worse 8
A crisis: Wall would have no effect 5
A crisis: Unsure 1
Not a crisis 52
So 52 say no "crisis", while 45% say it is "a crisis".
Do you believe that there is a security crisis along the border with Mexico, or don't you believe that?
Believe there is 54%
Don't believe that 43%
Unsure/No answer 4%
Do you believe that there is a humanitarian crisis along the border with Mexico, or don't you believe that?
Believe there is 68%
Don't believe that 26%
Unsure/No answer 6%
This "border crisis" is generally seen to be about "illegal" or "undocumented" immigration though the refugee issue needs to be part of the "crisis" parsing.
On illegal immigration:
ABC News/Washington Post Poll Jan. 21-24, 2019 1,001 adults nationwide
Do you think the United States is currently doing too little, too much, or about the right amount to keep undocumented immigrants from coming into this country
Too little 54%
Too much 16%
About right 24%
All but 16% ("too much") can be seen as anti-illegal-immigrant. That makes 78% anti-illegal immigration. But perhaps some of the 24% ("About right") feel that our current policy against "illegals" lacks teeth to the point that is sufficiently "pro-illegal-immigrant" in practice?
71% (in an above poll) felt the border situation was either a "crisis" or a "problem", and that might reflect the anti-illegal-immigration percentage of the population.
Deporting all immigrants who are living in the United States illegally back to their home country
Strongly favor 17%
Strongly oppose 30%
61% to 37% opposed.
(It was 66% to 32% opposed in the 2016 poll)
No doubt the refugee issue clouds the above question. But people are also more tolerant of illegal immigrants after they successfully crossed the border (while harsher on them while they attempt to cross).
Here is a relevant question:
Quinnipiac University Poll Nov. 14-19, 2018 1,046 registered voters nationwide
In general, do you think it should be harder or easier for people to legally immigrate to the United States?
Unsure/No answer 16%
In July 2018 it was 49 to 32 (19% undecided) when the question was asked.
So there is, perhaps, majority support for making it simpler (though that is not the same thing as increasing numbers admitted).
Also, there is good news (when looking at the polling history and trends)when looking at another issue that measures immigration sentiment.
The context is key here. Fewer Americans want immigration to be based on skills and education THAN IN THE PAST.
quote: CBS News Poll June 14-17, 2018 1,100 adults nationwide
When the U.S. government is deciding which immigrants to admit to this country, should priority be given to people who have family members already living in the U.S., or should priority be given to people based on education, job skills and work experience?
Family members 36%
Education, skills 47%
It depends 7%
Unsure/No answer 10%
The above question and the answers still indicate a 47% to 36% anti-immigration sentiment but it was 58 to 27 in 2013 (51 to 34 in 2007), so things are improving here.
These polls are a major part of showing the context the refugee question is asked.
Refugees are not admitted in large numbers, nor are they admitted easily.
(The American people think we already allow most refugees to immigrate here, and - unless the question is asked about Muslim's seeking refuge - the American people are actually pro-refugee)