Latino voters oppose excessive enforcement and punitive measures in immigration reform

A new poll from Presente.org and Latino Decisions finds that Latino voters firmly oppose excessive enforcement, border security, and punitive measures as part of comprehensive immigration reform.  The survey of 500 Latino registered voters asked opinions on a wide range of specific policy measures that have been debated in Congress and finds overall that 81% of Latino voters reject the notion of “border-security-first” approach.  [Webinar slide deck here] Instead, Latinos prefer to see a path to citizenship unfold simultaneously with any border security measures.  Further, Latinos are firmly opposed to increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) crackdowns against immigrants.  When asked if ICE should be asked to increase the number of immigrants detained 73% of Latino voters said no. When asked if ICE should be asked to increase the frequency of workplace raids 66% of Latino voters said no. Full topline results are posted here

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Latino voters were also asked about provisions of the bill related to the incorporation of undocumented immigrants including fines, waiting periods, citizenship status, and LGBT family unification. More than three-quarters oppose the option of providing legal status only without a path to citizenship, and a majority oppose excessive fines on undocumented immigrants.  A resounding 86% say the appropriate waiting period to apply for citizenship if 5 years.

In addition, 61% of Latino voters want to see LGBT family unification included in the immigration reform bill.  As the Williams Institute has noted, nearly 270,000 undocumented immigrant adults identify as LGBT and could be penalized and not allowed to sponsor their spouses for residency or citizenship under the current bill.

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Finally, Latino voters were asked how much news and information they had heard about some of the specific border security provisions in the bill, and on this topic information has been slow to reach Latino audiences.  While overall, over 80% of Latino voters say they have followed news about the immigration debates in Congress, large pluralities have not heard about the border security provisions.  A majority, 54% say they have heard little or nothing about the proposed $6.5 billion spending on additional border control enforcement, while 47% say they have heard little or nothing about provisions to increase the number of border patrol agents on the U.S-Mexico border. Clearly more attention is needed on this components of the bill for a more open debate to unfold.

About the poll.  Latino Decisions interviewed 500 Latino registered voters nationwide from May 25-June 1, 2013.  The survey margin of error is +/- 4.4%.  Respondents were contacted by landline, cell phone, or online and allowed to answer the questionnaire in English or Spanish, at their discretion.

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