Poll: 80 Percent of Americans Oppose Sanctuary Cities

February 22, 2017 Updated: February 22, 2017

Cities with sanctuary policies that shield illegal immigrants, especially those who commit crimes, are facing pressure under the new administration.

A new poll shows the public also supports tougher enforcement in sanctuary cities.

The vast majority (80 percent) of people surveyed said cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes should be required to turn them over to immigration authorities. The Harvard–Harris Poll was exclusively published by The Hill.

Currently, jurisdictions that have sanctuary policies are releasing many convicted criminals rather than handing them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—even when ICE submits a request for transfer, called a detainer.

In a testimony for a House committee last year, then-ICE Director Sarah Saldaña said 36,007 illegal alien criminals had been released back into communities in fiscal 2013.

(Google Maps)
(Created by Center for Immigration Studies using Immigration and Customs Enforcement Data/Google Maps)

Around 300 sanctuary jurisdictions have been created in the United States, according to a Center for Immigration Studies analysis. Some areas simply refuse to honor any ICE detainer requests, while others have certain criteria for handing an inmate over.

Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding to jurisdictions that shield illegal immigrants from federal authorities.

On Feb. 21, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly outlined the direction his agency should take in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration enforcement.

In an extra push that will create pressure, Homeland Security will start publishing a weekly report detailing which local jurisdictions did not honor detainer requests from ICE.


The Poll Results

Should cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes be required to turn them over to immigration authorities?
80 percent = Yes
20 percent = No

Do you support Trump’s two executive orders allowing for the construction of a southern border wall, increasing the number of immigration officers by 10,000, and finding a way to revoke federal funds for sanctuary cities?
52 percent = Yes
48 percent = No

Do you support increased border patrol?
75 percent = Yes
25 percent = No

Do you support a wall along the southern border?
53 percent = No
47 percent = Yes

Do you support the executive order that suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days?
53 percent = Yes
47 percent = No

The United States is slated to accept 100,000 refugees from Syria. Should that number be higher, lower, or the same?
51 percent = Lower
34 percent = Same
15 percent = Higher

The survey of 2,148 registered voters was conducted online between Feb. 11 and 13, according to The Hill. The partisan breakdown is 39 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican, 27 percent independent, and 5 percent other. The Harvard–Harris Poll survey is a collaboration of the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll.

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