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54% Believe Obama Wants Most New Illegal Immigrants to Stay

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Voters think President Obama is doing a poor job handling the latest immigration crisis and believe he wants to let most of the new illegal immigrants stay here despite majority support for their quick deportation.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 54% of Likely U.S. Voters want the U.S. government to send these new illegal immigrant children home as quickly as possible. Thirty-six percent (36%) think instead that the government should process them more slowly to determine whether any should be allowed to stay in the United States. Ten percent (10%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This marks a slight increase in favor of quick deportation from earlier this month

However, only 22% believe the president is interested in doing what most voters want - sending most of these new illegal immigrants home. Fifty-four percent (54%) believe he is more interested in letting most of them stay in the United States. One-in-four voters (24%) aren’t sure what Obama has in mind.

Among voters who favor quick deportation, 63% believe the president is more interested in letting most of these illegals stay in the United States.

Just 22% of all voters now rate the Obama administration’s handling of this latest immigration crisis as good or excellent. Over half (53%) think the administration is doing a poor job in this area.

But then 46% believe the administration through its statements and policies has encouraged this wave of thousands of illegal immigrant children in recent weeks. Thirty-one percent (31%) disagree, but 23% more are not sure.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 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.

The administration has been begun secretly moving these new illegal immigrants to detention centers around the country, but most voters say they don’t want them housed in their state and say any legislation passed by Congress to deal with the problem should focus on sending them home as soon as possible.  

Even prior to widespread media coverage of the latest immigration crisis, 52% of voters felt the federal government is not aggressive enough in deporting illegal immigrants. Just 14% said it was too aggressive.

Men and those 40 and over are more supportive than women and younger voters of deporting the new illegals as soon as possible. Voters in all three groups agree, though, that the president is doing a poor job handling the immigration crisis and that he wants most of the illegal immigrants to stay here.

The president’s actions have the support of voters in his party. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans and (59%) of voters not affiliated with either major party want the government to send these young illegal immigrants home as soon as possible. But Democrats by a 50% to 38% margin think the government should process them more slowly to determine whether any should be allowed to stay in the United States.

Some Democrats argue that these new illegals should be regarded as refugees from dangerous Central Americans countries. But just 31% of voters think they are coming here for their own safety. Most voters (52%) believe these illegal immigrants are coming here for economic reasons. Seventeen percent (17%) are not sure.

While 73% of Republicans and 53% of unaffiliated voters think the president wants most of these latest arrivals to stay here, only 40% of Democrats agree.

A plurality (44%) of Democrats believes the administration is doing a good or excellent job handling the latest immigration situation. Eighty-one percent (81%) of GOP voters and 61% of unaffiliateds think the administration is doing a poor job.

Eighty percent (80%) of all voters say they have been following recent news reports about the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border at least somewhat closely, with 45% who are following Very Closely.

Most voters have said in surveys for years that the policies and practices of the federal government encourage rather than discourage illegal immigration.

Also consistent with surveying for years, 58% believe gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in this country.  But if Congress passes a comprehensive immigration reform plan like the one endorsed by the president, 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.

Americans have some definite ideas about how illegal immigration can be slowed or stopped.

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

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