Poll: Majority of Americans say ‘sanctuary cities’ make America ‘less safe’

Poll: Majority of Americans say ‘sanctuary cities’ make America ‘less safe’
The majority of Americans reject their local lawmakers declaring their city a "sanctuary city" like many major U.S. cities including San Francisco, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The majority of Americans oppose having their city declared a “sanctuary city” to protect illegal immigrants, a new poll reveals.

According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, only 35 percent of likely U.S. voters favor living in a “sanctuary city,” while 52 percent said they oppose their local officials declaring their town a “sanctuary city,” nearly a 20 point spread. Fourteen percent told Rasmussen they are undecided.

Most people also said that “sanctuary cities” are “less safe,” according to the survey. Forty percent said they are “less safe,” while only 17 percent said they are “more safe.” Thirty-five percent of respondents said the safety level is about the same.

Respondents were highly divided among partisan lines. Republicans were mostly likely to say they feared living in “sanctuary city” while a “plurality” of Democrats — 48 percent — said they favor it.

More from the survey:

Fifty percent (50%) of voters said in November that the U.S. Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. That was down from 62% in July 2015 just after the highly-publicized murder of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Fifty-two percent (52%) still want to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities.

Most voters have favored punishing sanctuary cities in surveys since 2007. New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. are among the numerous cities that now refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The issue of sanctuary cities was thrusted back into the spotlight this week following the rape of a 14-year-old girl at a high school in Rockville, Maryland, which was allegedly carried out by two illegal immigrants. Rockville, despite the rape and other crime, is considering a measure to become a “sanctuary city.”

Sanctuary cities are municipalities that pass laws preventing local authorities from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, creating a safe haven for illegal immigrants. The majority of large U.S. cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and others have such laws.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted March 22-23 with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage pints.

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