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New Poll: California Voters Overwhelmingly Support VISION Act, Stopping Transfers of Immigrant Californians to ICE

August 3, 2021 News

Media Contacts:

Tom K. Wong, U.S. Immigration Policy Center at UC San Diego, tkw005@ucsd.edu

Lande Watson, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, landew@advancingjustice@alc.org / 415-212-8588

New Poll: California Voters Overwhelmingly Support VISION Act, Stopping Transfers of Immigrant Californians to ICE

VISION Act sees majority support across political spectrum, with backing from 2 out of 3 California voters

California voters affirm their commitment to humane, fair, and just immigration and criminal legal systems

SAN DIEGO — A majority of California voters support ending the double punishment of immigrant Californians and stopping transfers of Californians to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to a new poll from the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at University of California San Diego. The poll, which was commissioned by Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, shows strong support across the political spectrum for the VISION Act (AB 937-Carrillo), which ensures that once a person has earned their release from state prison or local jail, they are not transferred to abusive and possibly deadly ICE detention and instead are able to return to their families and communities and rebuild their lives.

Among the poll’s findings:

  • A large majority of California voters support ending transfers of immigrant Californians to ICE, with 67% of respondents saying that they support or strongly support the VISION Act;
  • Eighty percent of respondents — including 76% of self-described conservative voters and 54% of registered Republican voters — agree or strongly agree that regardless of what country a person was born in, they should be released from prison or jail after completing their sentences; and
  • Six of out of every ten respondents say that the statement “after an immigrant who is convicted of a crime serves their prison or jail time, they should be allowed to return to their community here in California and rebuild their life” aligns closest with their personal views.

Respondents who are “unsure” about re-electing Governor Newsom are the group who most agree with this statement, with 76% in agreement. (Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that does not support or oppose candidates for office.)

“The data make clear that a strong majority of Californians support the VISION Act. Not only do they support the policy, the results also show that Californians strongly support the principles that undergird AB 937, as three-fourths of respondents stated that immigrant Californians who have served their prison or jail time should be allowed to return to their communities and rebuild their lives rather than be turned over to ICE for detention and deportation,” said Tom K. Wong, associate professor of political science and founding director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at UC San Diego.

The summary of poll results are available here and crosstabs available here. The survey was fielded online from June 24 to July 5 among 1,004 registered voters and has a margin of error +/- 3.1%.

The new poll comes as the state Senate Appropriations Committee prepares to consider the VISION Act (AB 937), which would ensure that once a California immigrant has earned their release, they are not double punished by ICE detention and deportation. This includes people who have completed their sentence, been granted parole, have had charges dropped, or been granted release by a judge. On July 13, the bill passed the Senate Public Safety Committee 4-1 and passed the Assembly in June.

“Californians are seeking just and fair policies that keep families and communities together and strong,” said Angela Chan, policy director and senior staff attorney at Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. “The largest counties in the state have already chosen to end unjust practices of transferring immigrant community members to ICE. By passing and signing the VISION Act, California legislators and Governor Newsom can deliver for all Californians and maintain our state’s leadership in addressing systemic inequities that drive mass incarceration and deportation.”

As the bill moves through the California legislature, it has received support from the Black Legislative Caucus, the Latino Legislative Caucus, the API Legislative Caucus, numerous city and county governments, the California Labor Federation and numerous other labor unions, and over 100 community organizations, among others. City and county governments, as well as district attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco, have called attention to how ICE transfers affect their communities. The Alliance for Boys and Men of Color estimates that transfers to ICE of people eligible for release from local jails alone cost $7.3 million dollars in 2018 to 2019.