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Poll: Majority Of Californians Oppose Sanctuary City Policies

A majority of Californians are opposed to “sanctuary city” policies in which local jurisdictions ignore federal immigration detainer requests, according to a new poll from the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at the University of California, Berkeley.

The poll, released Friday, reveals that opposition to local officials ignoring federal immigration requests runs high in The Golden State and cuts across ideological and ethnic lines.

According to the online survey of 1,098 California residents, 74 percent said “local authorities should not be able to ignore these federal requests,” and just 26 percent said authorities should be able to ignore such requests.

Republicans were the most opposed to sanctuary policies with 82 percent saying local officials should not be allowed to ignore detainers. A majority of Democrats and independents were also opposed — 73 percent and 71 percent, respectively.

“We found very broad-based opposition to the idea of sanctuary cities,” IGS Director Jack Citrin, a political science professor at UC-Berkeley said in a statement. “Californians want their local officials to abide by the requests of federal authorities.”

As for individual ethnic groups, 65 percent of Latinos said they opposed sanctuary policies. Seventy-five percent of Asians, 75 percent of African Americans and 80 percent of whites agreed.

Citrin noted that virtually all respondents (99.5 percent) identified as U.S. citizens.

“While these results for Latino residents are interesting, people should bear in mind some limitations on our data, including the fact that our survey was conducted only in English, and that our sample consisted almost entirely of citizens,” Citrin said.

Sanctuary city policies have been put under a national microscope following the July shooting death of Kathryn Steinle. Steinle was allegedly murdered by a multiple deportee illegal immigrant with a long rap sheet who was released from jail after San Francisco authorities ignored a federal immigration detainer.

According to the poll, which was conducted between Aug. 11 and Aug. 26, Steinle’s murder did not have much of an impact on the poll results as 71 percent of respondents who were polled just on the sanctuary city policy said local officials should comply with detainers. That percentage rose to 76 percent when respondents were offered details about the recent shooting.

“Whether they were told about the recent San Francisco shooting or not,” Citrin said, “a strong majority of respondents made it clear that local authorities should not be able to ignore a federal request to hold an undocumented immigrant.”

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