New polling of Latino voters conducted by Latino Decisions for the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows that Democrats stand to gain from the president using his broad executive authority to grant the immigrant community a measure of relief after House Republicans failed to pass immigration reform.
Center for American Progress Report “What the President Can Do on Immigration if Congress Fails to Act” HERE.
There is extensive evidence showing that House Republicans could have significantly improved their standing with the Latino electorate by passing immigration reform. In political terms, House Republicans have not only squandered their opportunity to grow their shrinking national base, but also given the President and the Democratic Party an opening to solidify and expand their existing strength with the Latino electorate.
Five compelling findings from the survey (highlighted below) all point to the fact that Latino voters strongly support the president taking action if the House does not.
1. Latino voters were tremendously enthusiastic about President Obama’s 2012 DACA announcement, and the entire Democratic Party gained political goodwill from all segments of the Latino electorate.
2. Enthusiasm for Democrats running in 2014 will spike if executive action includes temporary work permits and stops deportations for those who have no criminal record.
Latino voters were asked how specific executive orders would make them feel about voting for Democrats in 2014. Policy that provides temporary work permits for unauthorized immigrants who have lived in the United States for ten years or more, or have children or spouses who are American citizens are far more popular, and potentially mobilizing, than merely stopping deportations.
3. Latino voters believe prosecutorial discretion has not changed the end result it was supposed to fix: 71% think undocumented immigrants without criminal records are still being deported.
According to the New York Times, two-thirds of the nearly two million people deported since President Obama took office had no criminal record, or only minor infractions, such as traffic violations. In 2011 the Obama administration issued a memorandum giving immigration officials prosecutorial discretion, allowing immigration officials to use their judgment to determine if they should deport someone or allow them to stay in the United States. Latinos remain doubtful that the policy has had its intended effect.
4. Latino voters will be much less enthusiastic about turning out to vote for Democrats if no action is taken.
If President Obama decides against exercising his executive authority to address immigration, all Democratic candidates in the midterm elections will absorb the blame: 57% would be less likely to vote for Democrats at all, and 54% would be less enthused about going to the polls.
5. Latino voters are tied to the undocumented community, this issue is personal. This is THE essential reason immigration is a gateway issue for Latino voters.
We continue to highlight the fact that Latino voters and undocumented immigrants know each other. They are not two separate communities. This issue is not an abstraction for Hispanic voters, of those who know undocumented immigrants,91% say these are their friends and family members. Nearly one-third (32%) of all Hispanic voters personally know someone who has been detained or deported for immigration reasons.