Even in Massachusetts, 70 Percent Oppose Benefits for Illegal Aliens

Wednesday, 12 May 2010 03:18 PM

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Seventy percent of Massachusetts voters favor a proposal to stop illegal immigrants from receiving public benefits, a sentiment that flies in the face of their state Legislature’s recent rejection of such a plan.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows that just 17 percent oppose the proposal to prevent illegal immigrants from gaining access to public housing, unemployment benefits, welfare or workers, compensation. And 13 percent are not sure.

The proposal failed in the Democratically controlled state House last month on a 75-to-82 vote.

In response to another immigration-related question, 50 percent of voters in Massachusetts oppose a boycott of Arizona like one the Boston City Council just passed to protest that state’s new law cracking down on illegal immigration.

Almost 35 percent of the 500 likely voters polled on May 10 favor such a boycott, while 16 percent are undecided.

But just 41 percent favor a law such as Arizona, which empowers local police to stop anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. Just under 50 percent oppose such a law, and 11 percent are not sure.

Nationally, 58% support a law like Arizona’s.

Almost 70 percent of Bay State voters are at least somewhat concerned that a law like Arizona’s might violate the civil rights of some U.S. citizens, while 30 percent don’t share that concern. Those figures include 40 percent who are very concerned and 11% who are not at all concerned.

Almost 60 percent favor a welcoming immigration policy that excludes only “national security threats, criminals and those who would come here to live off our welfare system.” Just 23 percent disagree with such a policy. This is comparable with findings among voters nationwide.

Gov. Deval Patrick criticized the public benefits proposal Tuesday and denounced the Arizona bill, saying he would veto a similar law if the Legislature passed it. However, he also said the state would not follow Boston’s example and divest state funds from Arizona as a protest.

His two chief opponents for governor, Republican Charlie Banker and Democrat-turned-independent Tim Cahill, both favor the legislation barring illegal immigrants from public benefits. Cahill has defended the Arizona law; Baker has not commented in detail on it.

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