A new Rasmussen poll shows a majority of Americans favor the Justice Department taking legal action against sanctuary cities, while most support the idea of denying funds to cities that refuse to enforce immigration laws.
Over half of Americans would support the Justice Department taking legal action against so-called “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants, according to a survey released Friday.
Sixty-two percent of likely voters back the DOJ penalizing cities that do not cooperate with federal authorities on immigration laws, according to the conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports.
The firm found 26 percent of likely voters oppose such legal action. Another 12 percent are undecided on the matter.
Friday’s survey found 79 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of unaffiliated voters support DOJ action against sanctuary cities. Democrats were less enthusiastic, with 43 percent in support.
The new survey also found strong support for the federal government cutting off funding for sanctuary cities. Rasmussen found 58 percent of likely voters would support cutting funds, with 38 percent opposing and 10 percent undecided.
Republicans were once again overwhelmingly supportive, backing funding cuts with 79 percent support. Unaffiliated voters, meanwhile, register at 61 percent, while Democrats are at 46 percent.
Sanctuary cities are receiving new scrutiny following a fatal shooting of a woman in San Francisco last week; the suspect is an illegal immigrant.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 45, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday to killing Kathryn Steinle, 32, on July 1.
Lopez-Sanchez had reportedly been deported to his native Mexico five times and has seven prior felony convictions.
He was released from jail four months ago under San Francisco policies rather than entering the custody of federal immigration officials.
The line on support for sanctuary cities has now been sharply drawn with Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley coming out strongly in favor and Hillary Clinton walking back her criticism of San Francisco from earlier in the week.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign sought to make clear she supports sanctuary cities following criticism on San Francisco’s release of an immigrant here illegally who is accused of shooting and killing a woman.
“Hillary Clinton believes that sanctuary cities can help further public safety, and she has defended those policies going back years,” said Xochitl Hinojosa, a campaign spokeswoman, in a statement made public Thursday. “As she made clear, this particular individual should not have been on the streets…She believes that we need a system where people like this don’t fall through the cracks and that is why she continues to fight for comprehensive immigration reform.”
Clinton, a Democrat, weighed in on the sanctuary city issue after comments from Republican candidate Donald Trump following a fatal shooting in San Francisco. Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, accused of shooting Kathryn Steinle, had re-entered the country several times after deportations, raising questions about policies of cities like San Francisco to leave immigration enforcement to federal officials. Some cities with this sort of policy are called sanctuary cities.
Asked in a CNN interview about the shooting, Clinton said, “The city made a mistake not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported.”
But she went on to add that if an immigrant is picked up for a traffic violation or misdemeanor – and has no criminal record – that is entirely different.
This is an idiotic statement because the definition of sanctuary cities is not to cooperate with the federal government in enforcing immigration deportations. Sanchez would not have been deported because the drug charges against him were dropped. The fact that he had been deported 5 times previously was totally irrelevant to San Francisco authorities. It didn’t matter in the slightest to officials that the feds “strongly felt” Sanchez should be deported.
You have to wonder if some kind of tipping point has been reached and support for sanctuary cities will begin to ebb. The egregious disregard for public safety represented by the release of Sanchez won’t be tolerated by any sane American. A GOP administration and Congress in 2016 may make good on threats to withhold funding from cities that refuse to keep their citizens safe.