March 28, 2017

Californians are overwhelmingly opposed to sanctuary city immigration policies, according to a poll commissioned by UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies (IGS). As a caveat, the director of IGS notes 99.5 percent of participants in the poll were citizens, and the survey was only conducted in English.

Between Aug. 11 and Aug. 26, Survey Sampling International conducted the poll on behalf of UC Berkeley, sampling 1,098 respondents. Of those polled, 74 percent said local authorities should not be allowed to ignore federal detainer requests. The other 26 percent supported the sanctuary city policy of preventing local police and sheriff’s officials from honoring immigration holds.

The poll results indicate Californians across the political spectrum and among all major ethnic groups oppose sanctuary city policies. The policy of ignoring federal detainer requests was opposed by 73 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of independents, according to UC Berkley.

Additionally, 65 percent of Latinos, 75 percent of Asian and African Americans and 80 percent of whites opposed sanctuary city policies.

“We found very broad-based opposition to the idea of sanctuary cities,” said Jack Citrin, the director of IGS and a UC Berkeley political science professor who has studies immigration for years. “Californians want their local officials to abide by the requests of federal authorities.”

In order to gauge the impact of a recent high-profile incident on Californians’ sentiments, Survey Sampling International told half the participants about the killing of Cal Poly grad Kate Steinle, including the fact that the alleged killer was an illegal immigrant who had been previously deported several times and recently released from jail. The other half of participants were not told about the Steinle case.

The results showed the Steinle murder had relatively little impact on Californians’ views on sanctuary cities.

Of those who were only asked about policy, 71 percent said cities should not be allowed to ignore federal detainer requests. Among those who were told about the Steinle shooting, 76 percent said they were opposed to sanctuary city policies.