New polls show that Americans strongly favor tougher penalties for illegal aliens who return after repatriation but also are ambivalent about whether the federal government should penalize cities for helping illegal aliens avoid deportation.
Sixty-three percent of Americans favor increased criminal penalties for repeat border-crossers, while only 26 percent oppose extra penalties for illegal aliens, according to a June 2 to June 3 poll of 1,000 likely voters by Rasmussen Reports. People who say they are swing-voting “moderates” favor the extra penalties by 59 percent to 24 percent.
That is good news for advocates of “Kate’s Law,” which was passed by the House June 29 to give judges the power to lengthen sentence against repeat illegals. The bill is being sent over to the Senate, where the 48 Democratic Senators have yet to decide if they will try to block the law before the 2018 Senate elections.
The bill is named after Kate Steinle, who was murdered in 2015 by an illegal alien who had repeatedly returned to the United States.
The Rasmussen polls, however, show a cloudier picture for another bill passed June 29 by the House, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act.” That bill allows the federal government to withdraw several categories of funds from cities and counties which hinder the enforcement of immigration law.
The June 2 to June 3 Rasmussen poll asked respondents: “Should the federal government cut off at least some funding to cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants?” The answer was a close split, 50 percent yes, 45 percent against. Self-style moderates split 35 percent for and 52 percent against.
But the same Rasmussen poll got a very different answer when the respondents were asked about the broader issue of federalism.
When asked, “Generally speaking, should states and localities have the right to ignore federal laws that they don’t agree with?” 62 percent of respondents said no, and only 23 percent said yes. That result suggests strong public support for the House’s sanctuary law.
A similar question prompted a more ambivalent answer. When asked “Does the federal government have too much influence over state and local governments or not enough influence? Or is the level of federal influence about right?” 40 percent of respondents said “too much,” 17 percent said “not enough” and 37 percent said the current level of influence is “about right.” GOP and Democratic respondents gave similar answers.
The Rasmussen polls show strong support for Kate’s law, but the sanctuary questions suggest that the public’s answers will be shaped by how the issue is presented to voters.
For example, public support for the sanctuary bill likely will rise if the public accepts the White House’s view that local politicians should not be allowed to shield cheap-labor migrants and criminals from law enforcement. In contrast, public support will drop if progressives and the media successfully portray the issue as neighborhood resistance to unfair government pressure on hard-working families of ‘Americans-in-waiting.’