Large majorities support immigration policies stuck in limbo for a decade

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.

Central American asylum seekers are detained by the U.S. Border Patrol after they crossed into the United States from Mexico near Yuma, Ariz., on April 29, 2021.Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — If it’s Tuesday ... Senators face new hurdles on police reform after the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, NBC’s Sahil Kapur and Scott Wong report. ... President Biden spends another day touting the bipartisan infrastructure — this time in New York City. ... Donald Trump sues journalist Bob Woodward over use of audio recordings. ... Trump’s 2024 fundraising is off to slow start. ... And 78% of voters from Rep. George Santos’, R-N.Y., congressional district want him to resign from office, per Newsday/Siena poll.

But first: Two of the most popular policies Americans say the new 118th Congress should consider are — drum roll, please — immigration reform and border security.

That’s according to our most recent NBC News poll, which tested seven different policy proposals.

The ideas with the most support: providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements (80% of Americans say Congress should do this), taking a harder line against China (75% say Congress should act) and addressing immigration by increasing border security (72%).

The least popular proposals: making cuts to the defense budget (31% support) and passing legislation that place additional restrictions on abortion (26%).

What stands out about the support for a pathway to citizenship is that it’s backed by an overwhelming majority of Democrats (94%), independents (77%) and Republicans (67%).

(Importantly, our question combines providing a pathway to citizenship WITH meeting certain requirements such as background checks.)

Support for increased border security also is backed by majorities of Republicans (90%), independents (72%) and Democrats (56%).

(Interestingly, while 71% of Democrats who backed Biden in the 2020 Democratic primaries support increased border security, just 34% of Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren voters do — so there is an ideological divide there in the party. 

Then again, what’s popular doesn’t always get turned into legislation that will become law.

We saw that with comprehensive immigration reform in 2013-14, which combined a pathway to citizenship AND increased border security.

And will we see it with police reform — even after the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols? 

Headline of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 21%

That’s the share of Americans who view Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer positively, the highest rating any of the four congressional leaders received on the feeling thermometer in the newest NBC News poll.

When Americans were asked whether they view each leader positively or negatively, just 21% said they viewed him positively (either “very” or “somewhat”), while 34% say they view him negatively. 

That’s well underwater, but markedly better than his Senate GOP counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has a 10% positive rating and a 53% negative rating. 

In the House, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries is largely unknown or undefined, but sports a slightly higher positive rating than negative rating, unlike Speaker Kevin McCarthy. 

Read more on the Meet the Press Blog

Other numbers to know:

3: The number of Memphis EMTs fired over their response to the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols. 

14: The number of criminal counts for which Solomon Pena was indicted, relating to Pena’s alleged involvement in shootings at Democratic officials’ homes and businesses in New Mexico. 

At least $25,000: The donation made to an ally of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who is pleading guilty to accepting an illegal campaign contribution, according to Politico.

$932 billion: The amount the U.S. plans to borrow this year, which is an increase in federal borrowing, despite the fact that the country is about to hit the debt limit.

24: The number of Republican senators who said they will oppose increasing the debt limit without spending cuts, per The Hill. 

6 months: How long former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is asking to stay in the U.S. on a tourist visa. 

3: The number of former Twitter executives who will testify next week in front of the House Oversight Committee.

50 million: The number of people under winter alerts ahead of a snowstorm that’s expected to hit the southern U.S. 

Eyes on 2024: Trump’s slow fundraising start — plus other baggage

Trump’s campaign continues to ramp up, although NBC News’ Jonathan Allen and Marc Caputo report that the former president is struggling to fundraise, with his latest haul being less than the amount he raised before launching another White House run. 

Meanwhile, a handful of headlines Monday remind us of just how much unique baggage Trump brings to his presidential bid. 

“Prosecutors convene grand jury in Trump hush money probe” -- a credible investigation into whether allies paid hush money to an adult film star aimed at keeping her allegations she had an affair with Trump quiet. 

And “Trump Courses Will Host Three Tournaments for Saudi-Backed LIV Golf” — news the former president’s private golf courses will host the controversial golf tournament funded by Saudi Arabia amid questions about the country’s human rights record (after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi) and about Trump’s son-in-law’s business relationship with the Saudis

Of course, his time in office, the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the attempts to overturn the 2020 election, undercut faith in the electoral process writ large and all the other obvious pieces of Trump’s past that will loom large in any discussion about his candidacy. But would these headlines be seen as afterthoughts for any other presidential hopeful at any other point in time? 

In other campaign news: 

Here come the governors: NBC’s Adam Edelman reports on how the group of GOP governors — Florida’s Ron DeSantis, Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin and South Dakota’s Kristi Noem — are positioning themselves ahead of potential presidential bids

Take it to court: Trump has filed a $49 million lawsuit against Bob Woodward, Simon & Schuster and Paramount Global for use of audio from his interviews conducted by Woodward. 

RNC calls on party to double down on abortion: Among the nine resolutions that passed by a voice vote at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, the RNC called for candidates to “go on offense in the 2024 election cycle, and expose the Democrats’ extreme position” on abortion. 

Will she, she won’t: As a handful of other Michigan Democrats weigh a Senate bid, Rep. Haley Stevens announced she won’t run

Will he, will he?: West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice posted a video interview featuring him saying he is “leaning” toward running for Senate and will make an announcement “real soon.” 

Bad sign for Santos: A whopping 78% of voters in embattled GOP Rep George Santos’ district want him to resign, per a Newsday/Siena College of New York’s 3rd District. That includes a sizable majority of Republicans (71%) as well as 89% of Democrats and 72% of independents.

DNC in ATL?: Southern Democrats are pushing for Atlanta to host the 2024 convention, NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald reports.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

TikTok’s CEO will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March, amid questions about the app’s data security.

As violence surges between Israel and Palestinines, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is urging the two sides to remain calm

Utah is the first state in 2023 to ban gender-affirming care for minors after GOP Gov. Spencer Cox signed the bill into law over the weekend.

CORRECTION (Jan. 31, 2023, 9:55 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s comments. He called for calm between Israel and the Palestinians, not Pakistan.