Poll finds 77 percent oppose drivers licenses for illegals
Voters oppose driver’s licenses for illegal aliens by a nearly five-toone margin, a new Fox 5/Washington Times/Rasmussen Reports poll finds.
As immigration politics explode into the presidential race, polls show Americans are taking a hard line on benefits for illegal aliens, including opposing driver’s licenses and such taxpayer-funded benefits as scholarships at state colleges for illegalalien students.
The new poll found 77 percent of the adults surveyed opposed making driver’s licenses available to illegal aliens, while just 16 percent supported the idea.
Licenses fared poorly across party lines, including near-blanket opposition among self-identified Republicans, at 88 percent. Among independents and Democrats, it was still overwhelmingly unpopular, drawing 75 percent and 68 percent opposition, respectively.
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer in September proposed adding New York to the list of seven states that offer licenses to illegal aliens, and the issue has refused to die down since.
Most Democratic presidential candidates have embraced the policy, including front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, arguing it’s a matter of road safety and a valid response to the federal government’s failure to give a path to citizenship to illegal aliens.
But those on the other side, including Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Christopher J. Dodd and the entire Republican presidential field, oppose the idea.
“I think we have to quit inducing people to come and stay if they’re illegal,” said former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, one of the Republican candidates.
On the issue of public benefits, the poll’s sample of California voters found 62 percent opposed statesponsored college scholarships for children of illegal aliens, while 24 percent supported the concept.
The idea was unpopular in both parties, with Republicans opposed by a margin of 81 percent to 11 percent, and Democrats against it by 50 percent to 33 percent.
The state’s Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, vetoed a bill last month that would have allowed illegal-alien children to apply for community college fee waivers and other types of financial aid. Mr. Schwarzenegger said the policy would strain public finances and hurt legal-resident students.
“It would not be prudent to place additional strain on the general fund to accord the new benefit of provid- ing state-subsidized financial aid to students without lawful immigration status,” the governor said in his veto message, pointing out that California already allows illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition rates.
It was the second time in two years he has vetoed the measure. He also has vetoed bills to extend driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
Meanwhile, on the issue of enforcement, the poll’s sample of 500 Texas voters found strong support for a crackdown: 75 percent said they favor police officers automatically checking legal status during traffic stops, and 66 percent said if someone stopped turns out to be illegal, they should be deported.