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Most voters blame parents — not the government — for families being separated at the border: poll

Protesters are walking though the streets in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday to protest against the government's immigration policies. Most U.S. voters blame the parents for being separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Most U.S. voters blame the parents being separated from their children at the border for causing the spate of illegal immigrant families being split up, not the federal government, according to a new poll.

A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 54 percent of “likely U.S. voters” believe families are at fault when they are arrested and separated at the border. About 35 percent blame the government and 11 percent are not sure who is  to blame.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order this week to prevent parents from being separated from children if they attempt to enter the country illegally.

What do Republicans and Democrats say?

Opinions on the issue are divided along party lines.

Eighty-two percent of Republicans and 56 percent of voters not affiliated with a major political party feel that the parents are more to blame for breaking the law, the report states. In contrast, 60 percent of Democrats believe the government is at fault for enforcing the law.

Among Democrats, 75 percent believe the Trump administration is too aggressive in its attempts to scale back the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. Just 23 percent of Republicans share that sentiment, according to the Rasmussen Reports survey.

The figures also show that 49 percent of all voters believe the Trump administration is too aggressive. And 25 percent indicated it’s not aggressive enough while 21 percent believe the government’s policies are about right.

And 54 percent of Americans agreed with President Donald Trump’s statement that “the United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee-holding facility.”

Are men or women more likely to blame the parents?

Men and people over age 40 are more likely than women and younger voters to blame the parents for being separated from their children for attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, according to the report.

Women, voters under 40 and black voters were most likely to think the Trump administration is too aggressive in attempting to stop illegal immigrants from entering this country, the survey showed.

In mid-March, prior to the current crisis, 51 percent of those surveyed stated that the government should create a pathway to citizenship for children — and that it should be addressed first, before a border wall is approved. Twenty-four percent indicated a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is needed to stop further illegal immigration.

Rasmussen Reports based the June 19-20 survey on 1,000 “likely voters.” The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. Pulse Opinion Research, LLC gathered the data.

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