Monday, February 22, 2016

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has called for free lawyers for children who have entered this country illegally, and a law proposed in the state of Maryland would expand that to include women who are here illegally as well. How do voters nationwide feel about paying for free lawyers for illegal immigrants?

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the federal government providing taxpayer-funded lawyers to women and children who entered the country illegally from Central and South America to help them fight deportation to their home countries. Just 25% favor such a plan, while 12% are undecided.

Eighty-five percent (85%) of Republicans and 68% of voters not affiliated with either major political party oppose providing free lawyers to these illegal immigrants. Among Democrats, 40% like the idea; 39% are opposed, and 21% are not sure.

The magnitude of the opposition to this proposal is not surprising given that 61% of all voters think the government is not aggressive enough in deporting those who are in this country illegally, a view most voters have held in surveys for years. Most also continue to believe the current policies and practices of the federal government encourage people to enter the United States illegally.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 17-18, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Seventy-two percent (72%) of voters believe the federal government is not aggressive enough in finding those who have overstayed their visas and sending them home.

Men are even more strongly opposed to providing free lawyers for illegal immigrants than women are.

Voters under 40 are far more supportive of such a plan than their elders are.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of whites oppose taxpayer-funded lawyers for women and children who have come here illegally, compared to 47% of blacks and 50% of other minority voters.

Among voters who believe providing a pathway to citizenship for those who are here illegally will just encourage more illegal immigration, 81% are opposed to providing free lawyers. Those who do not think an amnesty program will encourage more people to come illegally are almost evenly divided on giving lawyers to illegal immigrants.

Support for state rather than federal enforcement of immigration laws is now at its highest level in several years.

Most voters also continue to oppose President Obama’s plan to exempt millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.

Seventy percent (70%) of Republican voters - and 51% of all voters - support GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border to help stop illegal immigration.

This isn’t the first time that Clinton has taken an outside-the-mainstream position on illegal immigration as she attempts to woo Hispanic voters, but the media seems to largely give her a pass in this area. Most voters expect biased media coverage of the 2016 presidential race, and the response to immigration comments by Clinton and Trump last summer is a good case in point.