A majority of Southern California residents oppose President Donald Trump’s key immigration policies — including his travel ban, plan for a border wall and calls to increase deportations — according to a survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.
That opposition, while differing in intensity around the region, spans Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties and the Inland Empire — an area home to the state’s largest population of undocumented immigrants.
“Today, a strong majority of Californians say that undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. should be allowed to stay and eventually apply for citizenship,” the survey’s authors wrote.
The survey, for which 1,706 California adults were interviewed, found:
• More than 70 percent of Los Angeles-area and Inland Empire adults and 60 percent of Orange County and San Diego County adults said that undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States should be allowed to stay and eventually apply for citizenship. Statewide, the number was 68 percent.
• Around 12 percent in the Los Angeles area and the Inland Empire, and 15 percent in Orange and San Diego counties, thought undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay but not be allowed citizenship.
• Nearly three in four adults in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties oppose constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, while that opposition drops to 63 percent in the Inland Empire.
• Almost 63 percent of Los Angeles-area adults and 57 percent of Orange and San Diego county adults disapprove of Trump’s revised executive order banning most people entering the U.S. from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
While party affiliation seemed to impact how people responded to the survey, a majority of Republicans (56 percent) agreed that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to remain in the United States, compared to 92 percent of Democrats.
The partisanship was more pronounced for the other immigration-related questions about the border wall (92 percent of Democrats opposed, 68 percent of Republicans supported) and the travel ban (81 percent of Democrats opposed, 85 percent of Republicans supported).
California’s elected officials have largely vowed to fight Trump’s immigration policies, which seek to focus deportation efforts on a broad range of undocumented immigrants beyond convicted violent criminals, including people who have simply been charged with a crime, people who have sought public benefits and anyone immigration officers believe poses a risk to public safety or national security.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait joined other municipal leaders from around the country in calling for immigration reform.
Zeke Hernandez, president of the Santa Ana chapter of League of United Latin American Citizens, said he was surprised at the overwhelming support Southern Californians had for providing undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship, and called on the federal government to provide more support to help immigrants take that step.
“I think he ought to throw out any actions that are punitive,” Hernandez said. “Most folks aren’t in tune with the president’s actions.”
Robin Hvidston, executive director of We the People Rising, an anti-illegal immigration group based in Claremont, said that the 4.5 million Californians who voted for Trump did so largely because of his immigration policies, arguing that those people had valid concerns, even if they were outvoted by Hillary Clinton supporters.
“Trump is focused on deporting criminal aliens, and … the American public is behind the removal of criminal aliens,” Hvidston said.
She also questioned the reliability of the survey but didn’t point to a specific problem with the way it was conducted. The Public Policy Institute of California describes itself as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank.”
Past years’ surveys by the nonprofit show that Californians supported immigration reform even before Trump took office. In 2012, nearly 70 percent of Californians thought employed undocumented immigrants who have lived in the country for two years should be given a path to citizenship, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
This year, despite the state’s strong opposition to Trump’s immigration policies, only 16 percent of survey takers said the issue was the most important that the state faced. Nearly 20 percent said jobs and the economy were most important, while others were most concerned about schools, health care and the environment.
California was home to more than 2.6 million undocumented immigrants in 2013, including 814,000 in Los Angeles County, 247,000 in Orange County, 170,000 in San Diego County, 124,000 in Riverside County and 118,000 in San Bernardino County, according to a Public Policy Institute of California report released this month.
A February CBS poll found 58 percent of Americans opposed Trump’s border wall. The same poll found 60 percent of Americans thought undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country and apply for citizenship, 13 percent said they should stay but without citizenship and 23 percent said they should be required to leave.