Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rasmussen Poll Shows 73% Of Respondents Want Cops To Check Immigration Status During All Traffic Stops

On Wednesday, November 14, 2007, Anchorage residents will get their first opportunity to weigh in on the proposed municipal ordinance by Assemblyman Paul Bauer to require that police officers check immigration status during all traffic stops. The ordinance, AO 2007-125, will be discussed at a meeting of the Assembly's Public Safety Committee, to be held from 12 Noon - 2 P.M. in Room 155 (Conference Room) at Anchorage City Hall, located at 632 W. 6th Ave. The ordinance is also designed to get Anchorage's designation as a sanctuary city for illegals lifted.

And if the latest national polls are a genuine indicator of sentiment on this issue, Bauer should have solid support from the majority of the local community. A Rasmussen Reports survey shows that 73% of respondents say that when someone is pulled over for a traffic violation, police officers should routinely check to see if that person is in the country legally. Only 18% disagree, while 9% are not sure. Full story HERE.

If someone pulled over for a traffic violation is found to be in the country illegally, 62% of voters say that person should be deported. Seventeen percent (17%) disagree while 21% are not sure.

These views are very similar to results found in state polls around the country including Virginia, Missouri, Texas, and Kentucky.

And this consensus cuts across nearly every demographic line. Younger voters are a bit less supportive of these enforcement policies than their elders, but 61% of voters under 30 believe that officers should check on the status of traffic violators. Fifty-six percent (58%) of those under 40 believe that illegal immigrants discovered in this manner should be deported.

Eighty-five percent (85%) of Republicans believe that police officers should routinely check the immigration status of traffic offenders. That view is shared by 67% of Democrats and 69% of those not affiliated with either major party. Seventy percent (70%) of Republicans believe that undocumented immigrants found in this way should be deported. Only 12% of Republicans disagree.

Democrats share this view by a 56% to 23% margin while unaffiliated voters agree by a 62% to 14% margin. These results are also similar to those found in state surveys including surveys of likely voters in the New Hampshire Republican and Democratic Presidential Primaries.

An earlier survey found that 77% of American adults do not think illegal immigrants should be allowed to receive a drivers license.

However, many respondents are concerned about the appearance of profiling, and do not want to confer a "blank check" upon law enforcement. Thirty-four percent (34%) believe that such a policy might create a temptation for police officers to discriminate, but 58% disagree.

The telephonic survey of 800 voters was conducted nationally during the period November 5-6. Margin of error is +/- 3%, with a 95% confidence level.

Commentary: Considering that illegal immigrants are disproportionately Hispanice, primarily because of the convenience offered by our shared border with Mexico, we should be more concerned about national security than with political correctness.

Nevertheless, if we want to avoid the appearance of racial profiling, we must apply this ordinance in one of two ways:

(1). Perform the immigration check on EVERYONE who is subjected to a traffic stop. This takes the guesswork out of it. One question: Will this swamp the resources of the 368-member Anchorage Police Department? APD representatives will likely attend the November 14th Public Safety Meeting to address possible APD limitations.

(2). Perform the immigration check only on those who can't show a legitimate ID. Of course, then we would need to define the term "legitimate ID". One definition would include a valid U.S. drivers license from any state or territory. For someone with a foreign drivers license, it would have to be accompanied by documentation showing legal residency in the U.S. This would mean a "green card", or appropriate diplomatic identification. The "matricular consular", issued by Mexican legations in the U.S. to overseas Mexicans, would NOT be acceptable because Mexican legations do not require applicants to prove legal residency in the U.S. as a condition of receipt.

We should not expect people to be carrying around birth certificates or passports just to prove they're legal residents.

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