Voters like the idea of making legal immigrants pay their own way, and they are also keen on letting people sue sanctuary cities for crimes committed by illegal aliens -- both parts of President Trump's immigration agenda -- according to polling numbers from Harvard University. Nearly four in five voters like the idea of an "immigration halt" with the coronavirus becoming a pandemic.
Less popular is the move by a number of Democrat-led states such as New York to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Only about one-third of voters polled said people in the country without authorization should be allowed to apply for a license. The results of the Harvard Center for American Political Studies/Harris Poll suggest that Mr. Trump's immigration policies have strong backing among the American public at large, even though they are derided as xenophobic or unfair by the Washington elites and beltway Democratic leaders.
"This should definitely be a warning, especially to Biden because he's going to be the nominee, that going too far left is a real danger for him," said Mark Krikorian, executive director at the Center for Immigration Studies. "I'm not even sure what he was thinking last night. He's got the nomination. Why cater to the most radical anti-borders elements in his party?"
The Harvard/Harris poll found immigration policy to be the second most important issue for voters, behind health care and ahead of terrorism and national security. When it comes to the President, 49% said they approved of the president's handling of immigration. That is at the high range of the past few years, with Harvard/Harris showing approval hovering between 44% and 49%.
During his State of the Union address this year, Mr. Trump called for punishing sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal officials by allowing people victimized by illegal aliens to sue the sanctuaries for damages. That idea earns 55% support, according to Harvard/Harris, though the pollsters asked the question without mentioning that Mr. Trump supports it.
The same was true with a question on whether the government should deny green cards to immigrants who are likely to end up on the public dole. The Trump administration this year implemented a rule to do just that, and the Harvard/Harris poll said 60% support it -- again, without Mr. Trump's name attached to it.
Mr. Krikorian said asking without the president's name meant the pollsters were able to find Americans' views without any Trump bias. He said there are probably people who would be hawkish on immigration, such as opposing sanctuary cities, though they dislike Mr. Trump. If told the president backed a crackdown, they might have a different answer to the polling question. "Because Trump's name isn't on there, people were giving answers based on what they actually thought policy should be rather than what is associated with the president," he said.
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Updated: Thu, Mar 19th 2020 @ 7:39am EDT