Amnesty International on Thursday released the findings of a first of its kind global survey that studied international sentiment toward refugees and immigration. Titled the Refugees Welcome Index, the survey polled more than 27,000 people in 27 countries. Some of the key findings of the poll indicated that much of the anti-refugee rhetoric dominating policy debates around the world contradicts what most people think about the issue. For instance, in the U.S., where immigration both from Mexico and refugees from war-torn Middle East regions has been a particularly contentious issue, the survey found that 71 percent of those polled approve of allowing refugees into the country. Another 27 percent responded that they would accept refugees into their neighborhood. According to the survey, only 22 percent of those surveyed disapproved of allowing refugees into the country. Those numbers were about on par with what the poll found globally. Around the world, more than 75 percent of respondents approved of letting refugees into their country.
According to Amnesty International, the U.S. could step up its game to help ease the refugee crisis. “Americans feel compassion and concern for refugees, and they do not want to turn their backs on people fleeing war and horrific violence. This new data sends a clear message to officials in the U.S. to stop the fear-mongering and to do more to help vulnerable refugees,” Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA’s interim executive director, said in a statement. “Those who want to block refugees from coming into the U.S. are completely out of step with the American people.” Huang called out the Obama administration for failing to meet resettlement goals. “The U.S. can and must do more,” Huang said. “President Obama is already falling short of his own resettlement goals, and refugees are running out of time. These people are fleeing horrific human right abuses, and we have an obligation to protect them.”