Poll: Vast majority of Americans oppose sanctuary cities

A new Harris poll shows that 80% of voters say local authorities should have to comply with the law by reporting to federal agents the illegal immigrants they come into contact with.  The poll also shows that President Trump enjoys broad public support to crack down on sanctuary cities.

The Hill:

As it stands, hundreds of cities across the nation – many with Democratic mayors or city councils – are refusing to do so.

Trump has signed an executive order directing Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to find ways to starve these sanctuary cities of federal funding. A Reuters analysisfound the top 10 sanctuary cities in the U.S. receive $2.27 billion in federal funding for programs ranging from public health services to early childhood education.

Kelly is expected to hire thousands of new immigration enforcement agents with broad authority to detain and deport those in the country illegally, potentially setting up a showdown between the federal government and sanctuary cities.

The Harvard–Harris Poll survey found strong support for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, with 77 percent saying they support comprehensive immigration reform against only 23 percent who oppose.

"While there is broad support for comprehensive immigration reform, there is overwhelming opposition to sanctuary cities," said Harvard–Harris co-director Mark Penn. "The public wants honest immigrants treated fairly and those who commit crimes deported and that's very clear from the data."

The finding is one of several in the survey that show Trump has support for some of the controversial immigration proposals that were a hallmark of his campaign.

A majority – 52 percent – say they support Trump's two executive orders allowing for the construction of a southern border wall, increasing the number of immigration officers by 10,000 and finding a way to revoke federal funds for sanctuary cities.

The crackdown on sanctuary cities is the most popular feature of those actions, followed closely by the directive to increase the border patrol, which is backed by 75 percent of voters.

The wall is the most divisive element of Trump's plan, with 53 percent opposing its construction.

Meanwhile, 53 percent of voters surveyed said they back Trump's travel ban, which was rejected by the courts. That order temporarily suspended the United States' refugee program for 120 days, indefinitely suspended resettlement for Syrian refugees and imposed a 90-day travel and immigration ban from seven predominately Muslim nations: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia.

Kelly has said the administration will roll out a "tighter, more streamlined version" of the executive order some time soon.

The large number of voters supporting a crackdown on sanctuary cities means that even in the most fervent pro-illegal alien jurisdictions, most residents oppose releasing illegals from custody.  That should make it easier politically for the GOP if President Trump can find a way to cut funding for sanctuary cities that passes muster with the courts.

Finding a way to cut education and health care funding that goes to both illegal immigrants and U.S. citizens will be a problem.  There's no way to dissect this funding so that only money earmarked for illegals is denied by Washington.

That's why the administration and the Republican Congress could have more success if they target grants to cities from various federal departments – especially the Justice Department.  Many of these grants go to local law enforcement in sanctuary cities.  True, ordinary citizens will have to share in the punishment of city governments who defy the law, but that should put political pressure on those governments to change their policies.

The days of these sanctuary cities may be numbered if the political will can be found to deny funds to those governments who thumb their noses at the law.

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