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Most Voters Want More Aggressive Deportation Policies

Monday, April 06, 2015

More voters than ever feel the United States is not aggressive enough in deporting those who are here illegally, even as President Obama continues to push his plan to make up to five million illegal immigrants safe from deportation.

Just 16% of Likely U.S. Voters think the U.S. government is too aggressive in deporting those who are in the country illegally. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% believe the government is not aggressive enough in deporting these illegal immigrants, up from 52% a year ago and 56% in November.  Fifteen percent (15%) feel the current number of deportations is about right. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Thirty-two percent (32%) believe illegal immigrants who have American-born children should be exempt from deportation, an element of Obama’s plan, but 51% now disagree. In November, voters were much more closely divided: 38% said they should be exempt from deportation, and only 42% disagreed. Seventeen  percent (17%) remain undecided.

But then most voters (54%) continue to feel that a child born to an illegal immigrant mother in the United States should not automatically become a U.S. citizen, as is now the case.  Thirty-eight percent (38%) favor the current policy of automatic citizenship for these children. Opposition has ranged from 51% to 65% in surveys since April 2006. Support has been in the 28% to 41% range in that same period.

An overwhelming 83% of voters think someone should be required to prove they are legally allowed in the United States before receiving local, state or federal government services. Just 12% disagree. These findings have changed little over the past four years.

Still, 54% are concerned that efforts to identify and deport illegal immigrants will also end up violating the civil rights of some U.S. citizens. Forty-three percent (43%) don’t have that concern. This includes 25% who are Very Concerned about possible civil rights violations and 12% who are Not at All Concerned. This, too, is consistent with past surveying.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 1-2, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Most voters continue to believe federal government policies encourage illegal immigration.

Most voters in nearly every demographic category agree that the federal government is not aggressive enough in its deportation policies. Most also believe very strongly that someone should have to prove they are a U.S. citizen before obtaining government benefits.

Most women and men agree that a child born to an illegal immigrant in this country should not automatically become a U.S. citizen.

Voters under 40 are only slightly less supportive than their elders of more aggressive deportation policies. But they are much more likely than those 40 and over to think that a child born to an illegal alien in this country should automatically become a U.S. citizen.

Sixty percent (60%) of whites oppose automatic citizenship; 51% of blacks and 56% of other minority voters favor it.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans and 68% of voters not affiliated with either major party think the government is not aggressive enough in deporting illegal immigrants. Just 40% of Democrats agree. But then Democrats are far more concerned than the others that deportation efforts may end up violating the civil rights of some U.S. citizens.

Democrats by a 51% to 33% margin believe illegals who have American-born children should be exempt from deportation. Sixty-two percent (62%) of GOP voters and 60% of unaffiliateds disagree.

Most voters continue to believe that securing the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already here and think plans to offer legal status to such individuals will just encourage more illegal immigration.

More than half of voters remain opposed to Obama’s new plan that will allow nearly five million illegal immigrants to remain in this country legally and apply for jobs.  Forty-seven percent (47%) think Congress should try to find ways to stop the president’s plan, while 41% believe Congress should allow this decision to stand.

Voters also continue to strongly support voter ID laws and don't consider them discriminatory.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only. 

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