New Poll Reveals Rhode Island Voters Overwhelmingly Support Immigration Enforcement and Reductions in Overall Immigration

Jan 30, 2012, 10:09 ET from FAIR

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new statewide opinion poll reveals that likely Rhode Island voters overwhelmingly believe illegal immigration is harmful to the state, and oppose pro-illegal immigrant policies implemented by Gov. Lincoln Chafee. The poll of 500 likely Rhode Island voters was commissioned by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) conducted by Pulse Opinion Research during the week of January 3 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%.

Nearly three-quarters of Rhode Island voters, 74 percent, say that illegal immigration negatively affects the state. Voters also overwhelmingly oppose an executive order signed by Gov. Chafee preventing Rhode Island police from notifying federal authorities when they arrest or detain an individual they suspect is an illegal alien. The poll also indicates widespread opposition to a new policy which allows illegal aliens to attend public colleges and universities at subsidized in-state tuition rates.

Additionally, Rhode Island voters were asked about their views on legal immigration. A majority of respondents, 54 percent, believe that overall levels "are too high and should be reduced," while only 10 percent believe immigration should be increased.

Among the key findings of the poll:

  • 74% believe that illegal immigration has a negative affect on Rhode Island.
  • 71% oppose in-state tuition subsidies and/or admission of illegal aliens to public universities.
  • 73% oppose allowing illegal aliens to obtain Rhode Island driver's licenses.
  • 72% support allowing Rhode Island police to notify federal authorities when they arrest or detain someone they suspect is an illegal alien.
  • 54% want overall levels to the U.S. to be reduced.

"It is clear that elected officials in Rhode Island and the state's congressional delegation in Washington are out of step with the views of the people who put them in office," noted Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "The state is reeling under the impact of the second highest unemployment rate in the nation and crippling budget shortfalls, while the governor and many in the legislature promote policies that allow illegal aliens to take jobs and take advantage of public benefits in Rhode Island." According to research by FAIR, illegal immigration costs Rhode Island taxpayers $278 million annually.

"Even in the heart of New England, voters overwhelmingly oppose rewarding illegal immigration and want overall levels of immigration reduced. It is a message that political leaders in Rhode Island and around the nation would be well advised to heed," concluded Stein.

Rhode Island by the Numbers




Providence Metro:

10.3% (October 2011)

Number Unemployed:


Most Recent U-6:


U-6 Number:


Illegal Immigration in Rhode Island:

Illegal Alien Population:


Illegal Aliens in the Workforce:


Total Population:


Total Foreign-born population:

134,335 (12.8%)

Projected 2012 deficit:

$219 million

Cost of illegal immigration:

$278.2 million

Tax contributions:

$11.9 million

* The U-6 measures includes the unemployed, those who cannot find full-time employment, and those who want to work but have given up searching for a job due to the condition of the labor market.  

About FAIR
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group.  With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests.  FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced. Visit FAIR's website at