Despite outcry from their elected officials in recent days, nearly half of Republican voters believe that the United States should provide baby formula to non-citizens at the country’s southern border.
Republican lawmakers and right wing pundits have lashed out at President Joe Biden this week for continuing to provide formula to babies coming to the country with their families amid a nationwide shortage, with several conservative leaders referencing the alleged prioritization of “illegal babies” and “illegal mothers.”
GOP voters, however, are not exactly rallying around the nativist attacks on migrant mothers and their babies.
A new poll from YouGov conducted from 13-16 May found that 46 per cent of Republican respondents support giving formula to non-citizens, while just 34 per cent oppose such a measure. That number rises to 50 per cent of Independents and 78 per cent of Democrats.
Eleven per cent of Americans said that they have been personally affected by the shortage, but 86 per cent said that they are aware of the problem.
While the production of baby formula has been hampered by pandemic supply chain issues, the catalyst for the current shortage was formula company Abbott’s decision to recall formula and shut down a production facility in Michigan after a federal investigation found that four babies who had taken the company’s formula developed bacterial infections. At the beginning of May, Datasembly found that 43 per cent of baby formula was out of stock at retailers.
It is entirely not clear how much baby formula the federal government is sending to the border, or how those shipments factor into the overall shortage. Mr Biden on Wednesday invoked the Defense Production Act to increase the production of formula and import more from overseas.
Congress is acting too. The House passed a $28m emergency spending bill to address the crisis, despite the opposition of 192 Republicans — the vast majority of the caucus. The bill will now go to the Senate.
The YouGov poll found that Americans are broadly supportive of interventions to help ease the crisis. Fifty per cent of respondents and 58 per cent of parents of children under the age of 18 favor Mr Biden’s invoking the Defense Production Act, with opposition at only 20 and 17 per cent respectively.
The poll found that Americans primarily blame the formula companies and the recent formula recall for the national shortage.