The rape of a 14-year-old girl in a Maryland suburban high school by two older students who were in this country illegally has moved the sanctuary city debate back on the front burner. Most voters don’t want to live in a community that shields illegal immigrants from the government, and many question the safety of such communities.
Elected officials in many communities have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants, refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and 35% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the community they live in declaring itself a sanctuary community. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 52% oppose their community declaring itself a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
A plurality (48%) of Democrats favors living in a sanctuary community, but only 27% of both Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major political party agree.
Forty percent (40%) of all voters believe sanctuary communities are less safe than communities that do not protect illegal immigrants from federal authorities. Seventeen percent (17%) say sanctuary communities are more safe, while 35% think the level of safety is about the same.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on March 22-23, 2017 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 percent (50%) of voters said in November that the U.S. Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. That was down from 62% in July 2015 just after the highly-publicized murder of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Fifty-two percent (52%) still want to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities.
Most voters have favored punishing sanctuary cities in surveys since 2007. New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. are among the numerous cities that now refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Women worry less than men do about the safety of sanctuary communities but are only slightly more willing to live in one. Voters under 40 are twice as likely as their elders to be undecided whether their community should declared itself a sanctuary.
Other minority voters are more strongly opposed to living in a sanctuary community than whites and blacks are. But whites are the most likely to feel that such communities are less safe.
Sixty percent (60%) of Republicans say sanctuary communities are less safe than communities that do not protect illegal immigrations from federal authorities, a view shared by only 20% of Democrats and 43% of unaffiliated voters. Democrats are most likely to consider the level of safety about the same.
Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters who oppose their community becoming a sanctuary for illegal immigrants think sanctuary communities are less safe. Among voters who favor their home becoming a sanctuary, 36% believe their community will be safer than others, while 48% feel the level of safety will be about the same.
Voters long complained that President Obama was not sending illegal immigrants home fast enough, but now with President Trump in office, they’re worried that too many people are being deported.
At the same time, just 28% believe the government is doing enough to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into this country.
Eighty-one percent (81%) continue to favor a plan that calls for mandatory deportation of illegal immigrants who have been convicted of a felony in this country. Sixty-five percent (65%) support a five-year mandatory prison sentence for illegal immigrants convicted of major felonies who return to America after being deported.
Voters are closely divided over whether the United States should build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but most think it’s likely that Trump will dramatically cut the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) believe Mexico should pay at least some of the costs associated with building the wall, perhaps in party because only 27% think the Mexican government wants to stop its citizens from illegally entering the United States.
Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.