New IGS poll shows divergent views about immigration

border wall at Tijuana

California voters hold divided and highly partisan views about the state’s sanctuary cities and their relationship to federal immigration authorities. But Californians of both parties strongly support providing undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, and Democrats oppose while Republicans support President Trump’s proposal to build a U.S.-Mexico wall.

These are the key findings of a new statewide survey of 1,000 registered voters conducted by the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at UC Berkeley. The Berkeley IGS Poll was administered online by YouGov March 13-20 in English and Spanish.

When it comes to sanctuary cities, the poll finds that to some extent opinions are influenced by how the issue is framed, writes Berkeley IGS Poll Director Mark DiCamillo. For example, voters support by a five-to-four margin local communities declaring themselves sanctuary cities and instructing local police and government employees not to automatically turn immigrants over to federal immigration officers when they are found to be in the country illegally.

However, when the issue is framed in terms of allowing cities and counties the right to ignore requests from federal authorities to detain illegal immigrants who have been arrested and are about to be released, voters are opposed. Voter opinions toward sanctuary city policies in both settings are highly partisan, with large majorities of Democrats supportive, but with even larger majorities of Republicans opposed.

The poll explored a number of other issues relating to illegal immigrants and their impact on the state.