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Most Voters Still Veto Obama’s Immigration Plan

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

President Obama is reportedly about to announce that up to five million illegal immigrants will no longer be subject to deportation, but most voters oppose his plan. The majority, in fact, continue to believe the federal government already isn’t doing  enough to send illegal immigrants back home.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the U.S. government is not aggressive enough in deporting those who are in this country illegally, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. That’s up slightly from 52% in April but down from a high of 60% a year ago. Just 16% believe the government’s deportation policy is too aggressive, while 17% say the number of deportations is about right. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Fifty-three percent (53%) oppose the president’s plan to protect up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation and give many of them legal work permits. Thirty-four percent (34%) favor that plan, while 13% are undecided.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of voters already have signaled that they oppose the president granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without the approval of Congress, and 55% think Congress should challenge that action in court. 

But opposition is lower when voters are asked about specifics of Obama’s anticipated plan. For example, voters are evenly divided when asked if illegal immigrants who have lived in this country for five years or more without breaking the law should be exempt from deportation: 40% say yes; 41% say no, but a sizable 20% are undecided.

Thirty-eight percent (38%) believe illegal immigrants who have American-born children should be exempt from deportation. Forty-two percent (42%) disagree and think they still should be deported. But again 20% are not sure.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 16-17, 2014 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.

Republicans have been highly critical of the president’s use of executive orders like the one he is considering on deportation policy, claiming many of them are unconstitutional because he has not gotten congressional approval. House Republicans are already suing the Obama administration for making changes in the national health care law without Congress’ okay.

In late June, a plurality (44%) of voters said the president has been less faithful to the U.S. Constitution than most other presidents. Twenty-two percent (22%) felt Obama has been more faithful to the Constitution than most of his predecessors, while 30% said he has followed the Constitution about the same as other presidents have.

Interest in illegal immigration remains high. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters say they have been following recent news reports about the topic, with 40% who are following Very Closely.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans and 56% of voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties believe the federal government’s current deportation policies are not aggressive enough. But just 33% of Democrats agree.

By a 52% to 31% margin, voters in the president’s party favor his plan to end the deportation threat for up to five million illegal immigrants and to give many of them legal work permits. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Republicans and unaffiliated voters  by a 52% to 35% margin are opposed.

Opposition among Republican and unaffiliated voters falls when specifics are on the table. Still, most GOP voters and pluralities of unaffiliateds oppose ending deportation for those who have been here illegally for five years or more without breaking the law and those who have American-born children. 

Support among Democrats for both exemptions is only slightly higher than their overall approval of the president’s projected plan.

Most voters have said in surveys for several years that a child born to illegal immigrants should not automatically be a citizen of the United States as is the current policy

Forty-eight percent (48%) of Americans think limiting or ending automatic U.S. citizenship for children born to those who enter the United States illegally will reduce future illegal immigration a lot. Twenty-four percent (24%) say it will help a little, while 20% believe limiting or ending this practice will not reduce illegal immigration at all.

An increasing majority of voters believes gaining control of the border is the most important immigration reform needed, but they think the federal government encourages illegal immigration instead

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

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