When a poll finds 59 percent of a state’s residents believe it’s important to increase deportations of illegal immigrants, you might assume that was a survey conducted in a Republican-leaning state.
But when 59 percent of California residents say they favor more deportations, it certainly is an eye-opener.
Even the organization that conducted the poll, the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society on the Berkeley campus of the University of California, seemed a little taken aback by the results.
In announcing the results of its poll, the Haas Institute said the views on deportations were among several findings of the poll that were “rooted in more exclusionary and punitive values (and) point to the powerful role of social movements and public leadership in activating Californian’s more inclusive views.”
There were other findings in the survey that concerned the pollsters.
For instance, the percentage of residents of California’s Bay Area — San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and surrounding communities — who believe it’s important to increase deportations is even higher (60 percent) than the rest of the state.
In addition, nearly half of California’s residents (49 percent) favor the president’s ban on allowing refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries to enter the country.
And even though 93 percent of respondents said respecting other people’s cultural differences is important, 73 percent believe assimilation into U.S. society is an important part of being American, while 88 percent believe speaking English is important.
“It’s a state whose progressive movement has grown and matured … and yet we’re still seeing high levels of inequality across the state and other social justice issues that are problematic,” said Olivia Araiza, director of the Haas Institute’s Blueprint for Belonging project, which commissioned the survey.
Jon Rodney, spokesman for the California Immigrant Policy Center in Oakland — an immigrant advocacy group — told DailyDemocrat.com the findings about deportations and illegal immigrants were “outlier results” and reflect attitudes of certain areas of the state “where there needs to be more education.”
Poll organizers say the survey, which began in December, was a way to judge how progressive social policies within California were advancing. The survey “gives us an initial baseline for understanding where as a state and regionally we are in relation to core pillars of progressive agendas.”
The survey also makes mention of how Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and subsequent election, influenced progressives in California. It also made sure to criticize Trump while not mentioning him by name.
“Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which saw the election of a candidate notorious for his exclusionary views and statements on people of color, immigrants, and people with disabilities, California quickly became known as the de facto face of opposition,” the introduction to the poll’s results reads. “Progressive leaders and organizations in the Golden State, long known as a bastion of new ideas and richly diverse people, worked swiftly to organize against the new president’s anti-inclusion, pro-corporate, agenda, which included attacks on DREAMers and a travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.”
The survey’s results come in the wake of a growing movement by some conservative areas of the state to oppose California’s move to become a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants, whereby local law enforcement would provide limited cooperation with federal immigration officials when criminally detained immigrants are released.
San Diego County’s board of supervisors voted Tuesday to support a lawsuit by the Trump administration against California’s sanctuary state law. It is the state’s second-largest county.
Orange County, which is just south of Los Angeles County, has also voted to support the lawsuit, saying the sanctuary state law is unconstitutional because state laws can’t supersede federal laws on matters of immigration.
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