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These poll numbers were released earlier today by Rasmussen Reports -- "an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information."


68% Oppose Cities That Give 'Sanctuary' To Illegal Immigrants

Friday, October 30, 2009

San Francisco has long prided itself on being a "sanctuary city" that refuses to work with federal authorities to identify and deport illegal immigrants. But now city officials are arguing over how far that policy should go when some of those illegal immigrants are charged with murder and other serious crimes.

New Rasmussen Reports national telephone polling finds that most Americans oppose sanctuary cities and think their policies lead to an increase in crime. A solid plurality say such cities, including New York, Washington, D.C. and many others, should lose government funding because of their sanctuary policies.

Given consistent findings that Americans overwhelmingly support efforts to crackdown on illegal immigration, it's not surprising that 68% of U.S. voters oppose the creation of sanctuary cities. Only 13% favor the creation of cities that give safe haven to illegal immigrants. Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure.

Forty-nine percent (49%) say federal and state government funds should be cut off to cities that provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants. Thirty-three percent (33%) disagree and oppose any funding cutoff. Eighteen percent (18%) aren't sure.

Fifty percent (50%) of voters say sanctuary policies that protect illegal immigrants lead to an increase in crime. Just 20% do not believe this to be true, while 30% are undecided.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters say the policies of the federal government encourage people to enter the United States illegally . Only 27% disagree.

To put San Francisco's sanctuary debate in context, California, like many states, is facing severe budget problems in the current economic crisis, and 64% of California voters say illegal immigrants put a significant strain on the state budget .

Voters 18 to 29 are much more supportive of sanctuary cities than those in any other age group. Seventy-two percent (72%) of whites and 63% of those of other races oppose such cities, while African-Americans are more narrowly divided.

Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party are much more strongly opposed to sanctuary cities than Democrats are.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of GOP voters and a plurality (49%) of unaffiliateds say government funding should be cut off to sanctuary cities. Democrats are closely divided on the question.

Male voters are much more strongly in favor of a funding cutoff than women.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of voters say they have followed recent news stories about cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants, including 28% who say they are following very closely. Thirty-two percent (32%) are not following closely or at all.

Earlier surveys have shown that voters overwhelmingly believe those who employ illegal immigrants should be punished .

But 74% also believe the federal government is not doing enough to secure the country's borders .

On immigration, there has consistently been a large gap between Mainstream America and the Political Class . The biggest point of disconnect between voters and the conventional wisdom in Washington, D.C. has to do with priorities.

Almost always in Washington, the debate begins with a focus on how to address the status of illegal immigrants already in the country. To voters, that is a secondary concern. Controlling the borders is their top concern. That hasn't changed since the 2006 immigration reform legislation collapsed when the U.S. Senate surrendered to public opinion.

President Obama has said that immigration reform might be on the legislative agenda by early 2010, but voter preferences remain clear. By a 70% to 22% margin, voters say that gaining control of the borders is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already in the country .

What is often lost in the debate over immigration reform is that once the borders are controlled, most Americans favor a welcoming immigration policy provided it is done within the law. Republicans are more supportive than Democrats of such a policy. Overall, by a 55% to 27% margin, Americans favor a policy goal that would welcome everyone except criminals, national security threats and welfare dependants .

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To view the original report, please use this link: No Place to Hide?