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Voters Strongly Oppose Legal Rights, Government Benefits for Illegal Immigrants

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Obama administration yesterday announced that it is spending $9 million to provide lawyers for some of the young illegal immigrants who flooded across the border earlier this year, but voters strongly believe these illegal immigrants do not have the same legal rights U.S. citizens do.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 68% of Likely U.S. Voters say the new illegal immigrants should not have the same legal rights and protections that U.S. citizens have. Just 19% disagree. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure. (To see question wording, click here.)

Seventy-one percent (71%) say these illegal newcomers should not be eligible for government services and benefits. Sixteen percent (16%) believe they are entitled to government aid. Again, 13% are undecided.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters think the availability of government money and services draws illegal immigrants to the United States. Twenty-one percent (21%) believe this government assistance is not a magnet for illegal immigration, but 15% are not sure. These views are little changed from early March 2010 when we first asked this question.

Thirty-eight percent (38%) now say some of this year’s wave of illegal immigrants have been moved by the federal government to their state. Fifteen percent (15%) say their state hasn’t received any of these illegals, but nearly half (46%) of voters don’t know. The administration refuses to make public where these illegal immigrants are being moved and, in most cases, is not telling local and state officials beforehand.

Just 29% of voters approve of housing these illegal immigrants in their state. Only 34% think the administration needs to release publicly the locations of where the illegal immigrants are going, but a plurality (47%) believes it should get the approval of elected officials in a state before moving them there.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August September 29-30, 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.

Most voters think the president wants this latest group of illegal immigrants to stay in this country despite majority support for their quick deportation.

Just 30% of voters give the Obama administration good or excellent marks for its handling of the thousands of illegal immigrant children who have entered the country this year. Forty-seven percent (47%) rate the administration’s handling of the problem as poor. This is unchanged from mid-August. 

Fifty-four percent (54%) of Democrats give the administration positive marks for dealing with the latest immigration situation, compared to six percent (6%) of Republicans and 26% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

Democrats, however, tend to agree with the others when it comes to legal rights and government benefits for illegal immigrants but not nearly as strongly. For example, while 89% of GOP voters and 70% of unaffiliateds think illegals should not have the same legal rights and protections that U.S. citizens have, just a plurality (49%) of voters in the president’s party agree.

Similarly, 51% of Democrats do not think illegal immigrants should be eligible for government services and benefits, but that compares to 91% of Republicans and 75% of unaffiliated voters.

Republicans are more aware than the others whether some of the new illegal immigrants have been moved to their state.

Men and women are in general agreement when it comes to legal rights and benefits for these illegal immigrants. Voters under 40 are only slightly more supportive than their elders in both cases.

School districts around the country are beginning to discover where the administration has moved many of the new illegal immigrants, but 53% of all voters don’t believe these youngsters should be allowed to attend local schools. Thirty-two percent (32%) disagree, while 14% are undecided.

Most voters oppose the president’s reported plan to unilaterally grant amnesty to several million illegal immigrants and think Congress should challenge him in court if he goes ahead with it. Consistent with surveying for years, two-out-of-three voters (67%) think securing the border to prevent future illegal immigration should come before amnesty is granted for some illegal immigrants already in this country. Just 26% believe amnesty should come first.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) favor a comprehensive immigration reform plan that would give legal status to those who entered the country illegally but have otherwise obeyed the law – if the border is really secured to prevent future illegal immigration. The problem for immigration reformers is that only 33% think it’s even somewhat likely that the federal government will actually secure the border, with seven percent (7%) who say it’s Very Likely.

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

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