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Most Still Oppose Obama’s Immigration Amnesty, Say It’s Illegal

Most voters still oppose President Obama’s plan to exempt up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation, with more than ever saying he doesn’t have the legal authority to take such action. But voters remain closely divided over whether their state should be part of the legal challenge now tying up Obama’s plan in court.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters now oppose the president’s plan to allow the illegal immigrants to remain in this country legally and apply for jobs. That’s up from 51% in early February but down from 62% last August before the exact details of the amnesty plan were known. Thirty-five percent (35%) favor the plan, little changed from two months ago. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Only 25% think the president has the legal authority to grant amnesty to several million illegal immigrants without the approval of Congress. Fifty-nine percent (59%) disagree and say he does not have that legal power. That’s up from 52% in February and a high to date. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.

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Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters think the government should only do what the president and Congress agree on when it comes to immigration, up four points from early December. Just 26% say Obama should take action alone if Congress does not approve the immigration initiatives he has proposed. Twelve percent (12%) are undecided.

Twenty-six states are challenging Obama’s plan in court, saying the president lacks the constitutional authority to stop the deportations and that his action puts a heavy financial burden on them. The plan is on hold pending a review by a federal appeals court panel. Forty-three percent (43%) of voters favor their state suing the administration over this new immigration policy. Thirty-nine percent (39%) are opposed to legal action by their states, while 18% are undecided. This is comparable to findings in December.

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 19-20, 2015 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.

More voters than ever feel the United States is not aggressive enough in deporting those who are here illegally.

Those under 40 believe more strongly than their elders that the president has the legal authority to take the immigration action on his own, but most voters of all ages agree the government should only do what Congress and the president decide together when it comes to immigration.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of both black and other minority voters support Obama’s immigration effort. Sixty-one percent (61%) of white voters oppose it.

Eighty percent (80%) of Republicans and 57% of voters not affiliated with either major political party oppose the president’s amnesty plan. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats favor it. But then while 85% of GOP voters and 64% of unaffiliateds say the president does not have the legal authority to act alone, just 33% of Democrats agree.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of Republicans and a plurality (49%) of unaffiliated voters favor their state suing the administration over the new immigration policy. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of voters in the president’s party oppose their state taking such action.

Most voters continue to believe federal government policies encourage illegal immigration, but they still aren’t convinced states should go it alone in enforcing immigration laws.

Most also still think that securing the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already here and say plans to offer legal status to such individuals will just encourage more illegal immigration.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only. 

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 19-20, 2015 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.

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