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Voters Want to Punish Sanctuary Cities

Friday, July 10, 2015

Following the murder of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant from Mexico, voters want to get tough on so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to enforce immigration laws.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the U.S. Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 26% oppose Justice Department action against sanctuary cities. Twelve percent (12%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-eight percent (58%) believe the federal government should cut off funds to cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Thirty-two percent (32%) disagree, while 10% are not sure. This marks little change from May 2011 when legislation was unsuccessfully proposed in Congress to stop all federal funding for sanctuary cities.

Republicans and unaffiliated voters are much stronger supporters of both actions than Democrats are.

In addition to San Francisco, numerous major cities in the United States are now sanctuary cities including New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and Detroit.

Voters told Rasmussen Reports two years ago that the best ways to stop illegal immigration are to impose strong penalties on those who hire illegal immigrants and to end federal funding for sanctuary cities that are violating immigration law.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on July 8-9, 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.

Fifty-three percent (53%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe illegal immigration increases the level of serious crime in America. Thirty-three percent (33%) say it has no impact on crime.

The majority of voters in most demographic categories agree that the Justice Department should take action against sanctuary cities and the government should cut off all aid to those cities.

Men are stronger advocates of these actions than women are. There is general agreement on both questions among voters of all ages.

Most voters across the racial spectrum generally support the get-tough policies with sanctuary cities, although black voters are slightly less in favor of cutting all aid.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 65% of unaffiliated voters believe the Justice Department should take legal action against sanctuary cities. But just 43% of Democrats agree. Similarly, while 79% of GOP voters and 61% of unaffiliateds want to cut off all aid to these cities, 54% of Democrats are opposed.

Eighty-four percent (84%) of those who want the Justice Department to take legal action against sanctuary cities also favor a cut-off of all federal aid. Among voters opposed to legal action, 80% also oppose a funding cut-off.

Voters are wary of the Justice Department, however. Fifty-six percent (56%) think the Justice Department is more concerned with politics than with making sure justice is done when it decides to investigate a local crime independent of the local police.

The suspect in the San Francisco killing is an illegal immigrant with a long criminal record who has been deported to Mexico several times and come back. He said he was attracted to San Francisco because it is a sanctuary city that does not enforce immigration laws.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters now think gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States, the highest level of support for more border control since December 2011.

Only 34% favor President Obama’s plan to protect up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation.

Most voters continue to believe the policies and practices of the federal government encourage, rather than discourage, illegal immigration.

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

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