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Most Don’t Want to Get Rid of ICE

A growing number of Democrats are calling for abolishing the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, but even among voters in their own party, there’s not much support for the idea. Maybe that’s because voters think the government needs to be even more aggressive in deporting illegal immigrants.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that only 25% of Likely U.S. Voters favor getting rid of ICE whose duties include border control. Fifty-five percent (55%) are opposed. Twenty percent (20%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans and 53% of voters not affiliated with either major political party oppose getting rid of ICE. Democrats agree by a narrower 44% to 36% margin.

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Thirty-three percent (33%) of all voters believe the U.S. government is too aggressive in deporting those who are in this country illegally. But a plurality (46%) disagrees and says the government isn’t aggressive enough. Just 13% consider the current number of deportations as about right.

The number who feel the government isn’t aggressive enough in deporting illegal immigrants fell to a low of 41% in February of last year from a high of 62% in April 2015. Only 16% said the government was too aggressive three years ago.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 27-28, 2018 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.

ICE has faced increasing criticism as Democrats and the media publicize its long-standing policy of separating most children from their parents when dealing with illegal immigrants. But most voters blame the parents of the separated children at the border, not the federal government.

Those 40 and over are more strongly opposed to abolishing ICE than younger voters are. Older voters are also more likely to believe the government isn’t aggressive enough in deporting those who are in this country illegally.

Blacks and whites oppose abolishing ICE more than other minority voters do. But blacks are more convinced than the others that the government is too aggressive in deporting illegal immigrants.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of Democrats think the government is too aggressive. Seventy percent (70%) of Republicans and unaffiliated voters by a 45% to 30% margin say it isn’t aggressive enough.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters who favor getting rid of ICE say the government is too aggressive in deporting illegal immigrants. Among those who oppose abolishing ICE, 63% say it’s not aggressive enough.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of all voters think it’s better for the United States to tightly control who comes into the country, but 48% feel the government is not doing enough to secure the country’s borders.

Despite President Trump’s efforts to toughen border enforcement, voters still think it’s easier for illegal immigrants to get into the United States and stay here than in much of the rest of the world.

Most voters think illegal immigrants are a significant strain on the U.S. budget, and a plurality (45%) says they increase the level of serious crime in America, too.

Only 37% say they want to live in a sanctuary community that protects illegal immigrants from federal immigration authorities.

Forty-seven percent (47%) said in March that the U.S. Justice Department should take legal action against Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, California, a sanctuary city, after she warned illegal immigrants in her city about an upcoming ICE raid.

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

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 27-28, 2018 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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