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Voters Measure Illegal Immigration in Major Crime, More Tax Dollars

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Voters tend to view illegal immigrants as the source of more major crime and a big drain on taxpayers’ wallets.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters think illegal immigration increases the level of serious crime in America. Nearly as many (41%) say it has no impact. Just seven percent (7%) feel illegal immigrants actually decrease the amount of serious crime. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Forty-nine percent (49%) still believe illegal immigrants are a significant strain on the U.S. budget, although that is down from 67% when Rasmussen Reports first asked this question in March 2010. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say illegals are not a big strain on the budget, up from 23% seven years ago, while 14% are undecided.

As on nearly all issues related to illegal immigration, there is a sizable difference of opinion between Republicans and Democrats. Seventy-four percent (74%) of GOP voters and a plurality (44%) of voters not affiliated with either major political party say illegal immigration increases the level of serious crime, but only 16% of Democrats agree. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Democrats think it has no impact.

Similarly, while 78% of Republicans and 51% of unaffiliated voters believe illegal immigrants are a significant strain on the U.S. budget, just 21% of Democrats share that view. Most Democrats (62%) disagree. Interestingly, a plurality (48%) of Democrats considered illegal immigrants a major budget strain in 2010, along with 73% of unaffiliateds.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 26-27, 2017 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.

While support for deportation of illegal immigrants in general is down, 81% of voters favor a plan that calls for mandatory deportation of illegal immigrants who have been convicted of a felony in this country. Sixty-five percent (65%) support a five-year mandatory prison sentence for illegal immigrants convicted of major felonies who return to America after being deported.

Forty-six percent (46%) of whites think illegal immigrants add to the level of major crime in America, a view shared by 32% of blacks and 39% of other minority voters. Only 28% of black voters feel that illegals are a significant strain on the U.S. budget, compared to 52% of whites and 48% of other minorities.

Those under 40 are less likely than older voters to see illegal immigrants as a source of more serious crime or as a major strain on the budget.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters who view illegal immigrants as a major budget drain also believe they increase the level of serious crime. Seventy-five percent (75%) of those who don’t see illegals as a budget problem say they have no impact on the level of major crime.

Among voters who Strongly Approve of the job President Trump is doing, 91% say illegal immigration increases the level of serious crime, and 92% say it is a significant strain on the budget. Among those who Strongly Disapprove of the president’s job performance, 72% say illegal immigrants have no impact on the level of serious crime, and 69% feel they are not a major drain on the budget.

Voters are closely divided over whether the United States should build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but most think it’s likely that Trump will dramatically cut the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States.

Stopping illegal immigration has long been voters’ number one immigration priority.

Fifty percent (50%) of voters said in November that the U.S. Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. That was down from 62% in July 2015 just after  the highly-publicized murder of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Fifty-two percent (52%) still want to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities.

The Justice Department has officially announced that sanctuary cities are violating federal laws and could lose billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded grants if they continue to thwart efforts to deport illegal immigrants. Most voters have favored punishing sanctuary cities in surveys since 2007.

Most don’t want to live in a sanctuary community, and many question the safety of such communities.

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

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