Tag Archive | "Immigration"


Poll: For Latinos, Immigration Is Personal

La Opinión, Pilar Marrero

Latino voters are no strangers to the plight of undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

A majority (53 percent) of Latino registered voters said they personally know an undocumented immigrant, and one-quarter (25 percent) said they know someone who has been deported or is facing deportation proceedings. That’s according to a new poll by ImpreMedia and Latino Decisions, the third in a series of six national opinion polls exploring the views of the most integrated segment of Latinos in American society: registered voters.

This installment of the poll focused on the topic of immigration.

Matt Barreto, pollster for Latino Decisions and political science professor at the University of Washington, said the poll results put to rest the notion that Latino voters are not interested in what happens to undocumented immigrants.

“It proves what we know anecdotally, that the immigration issue is very personal for Latinos, and doesn’t have to do with political ideology. Latino voters have personal relationships that they feel are impacted by the nation’s decisions about immigrants,” said Barreto.

“That’s why they [undocumented immigrants] can affect the political decisions of even second- or third-generation Latinos born here.”

Gabriel Sanchez, political science professor at the University of New Mexico, said that at first glance, the poll results seem surprising.

“We’re talking about registered Latino voters, and yet the direct and personal connection with the issue of undocumented immigrants helps explain why even Latinos born in the United States, whose dominant language is English, have liberal attitudes about immigration policy,” he said. “This is something a lot of people in the U.S. don’t understand.”

Fifty-one percent of Latino voters consider the issue of immigration, including comprehensive reform and the DREAM Act, to be the most important issue currently facing the community. Thirty-five percent said their priority is the economy and the creation of jobs. Education came in third place, with 18 percent of voters identifying it as the most important issue.

The voters surveyed said that in the absence of immigration reform in Congress, they believe the president should use his executive powers to address some of the immediate problems facing certain groups of undocumented immigrants.

Sixty-six percent of voters said they would support an executive order by the president to stop the deportation of undocumented minors or college-age youth who do not have a criminal record. This support is consistent among Latinos of all ideologies, backgrounds and political parties, including 54 percent of Republicans.

Respondents also said they did not see the need to further increase border security or direct more resources toward deportations. When asked if they thought these efforts were necessary, 29 percent agreed and 62 percent disagreed. Of these, 49 percent said they “strongly disagreed.”

Among those who favor the president’s use of executive orders, 60 percent said they support stopping the deportation of children and minors with no criminal record; 74 percent said they support stopping the deportation of undocumented immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.

“A clear majority of Latino voters favors President Obama making use of his executive authority so there is greater discretion when it comes to detentions and deportations. They clearly want to see the end of deportations of young students, parents of U.S.-citizen children and people married to citizens or legal residents,” Barreto said.

They were also asked about a number of immigration-related state measures. Fifty-six percent said they oppose laws requiring state or local police to ask people for their papers; 29 percent were in favor of these laws.

Fifty-two percent said they would support a law clarifying that only the federal government can ask for immigration papers. Seventy-eight percent said they support laws that allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at universities.

The survey also found strong support for comprehensive immigration reform, reflecting the results of previous polls of Latino voters. All categories of Latino registered voters, including independents and Republicans, said they support immigration reform, in numbers ranging from 66 percent to 80 percent depending on the subgroup. All were solid majorities.

This includes requiring undocumented immigrants to pay taxes and pass a background check (84 percent supported this) and requiring them to have lived in the country for at least two years (69 percent) in order to qualify for a path to legalization. There was less support for a fine of $1,000 (48 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed) and requiring immigrants to return to their home country before getting papers (40 percent in favor and 53 opposed).

Latino voters also said they noticed an anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment in U.S. public discourse. Sixty percent said there was definitely an anti-immigrant climate and 16 percent said there was to some extent (for a total of 76 percent).


Latino Decisions interviewed 500 registered voters between May 24 and June 4 in the 21 states with the highest Latino populations, representing 95 percent of the electorate. Interviewees were selected at random from voter rolls and included those interviewed by cell phone. The margin of error was 4.3 percent. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish, according to the preference of the respondents.


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McCain’s Reversal

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During the last presidential primaries, we gave our support to Senator John McCain for being a pragmatic, independent-minded politician, and for having a realistic vision on immigration. What a disappointment it is to compare that man to the candidate for reelection in Arizona today!

McCain has gone from being a reasoned voice in the immigration debate to an apologist for the irrational by supporting the Arizona bill that uses racial profiling to persecute the undocumented, among other controversial provisions. If that weren’t enough, the Senator recently appeared on the Fox television network saying that undocumented immigrants were “intentionally” causing car accidents.

McCain’s dramatic shift on immigration personifies the political opportunism we mentioned a few weeks ago in relation to California’s own Republican primary, although the Senator’s case is much more profound. This is a politician who was once considered one of the Senate’s pillars in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, a position he diametrically opposes today.

It is sadly all too common for politicians to change their messages in election years to win more votes. But 180-degree reversals are unacceptable, all the more so, as in this case, when it means the persecution of individuals because of their appearance using stereotypes particularly harmful to Latinos.

McCain’s strategy aims to thwart a challenge by ultraconservative J.D. Hayworth in the August Republican primary. Pressure from anti-immigration extremists within the Republican ranks is leading people like McCain to take radical positions unlike anything they have done previously in their career.

We believe there is absolutely no justification for supporting the Arizona bill or for using the language the Senator did. Good deeds in the past provide no immunity for the blunders of the present.

After what just happened in Arizona, comprehensive immigration reform is needed more than ever. In this debate, McCain should be the reasonable pragmatist rather than a voice of irrational extremism.

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Obama’s Aunt Seeks Asylum

BOSTON —  The Associated Press is reporting that President Barack Obama’ aunt is before a judge today seeking asylum to stay in the U.S.

Obama’s aunt showed up in a wheelchair with  a cane across her lap, for a hearing in U.S. Immigration Court to make another bid for asylum because of what her lawyer said included medical reasons, the report says.

Kenya native Zeituni Onyango, 57, and two doctors are expected to testify at the hearing, which is closed to the public, lawyer Margaret Wong said. She is applying for asylum for medical and “other” reasons, Wong said.

In an interview in November with The Associated Press, she said she is disabled and learning to walk again after being paralyzed from Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder.

It was not immediately clear when Judge Leonard Shapiro would rule. Lauren Alder Reid, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, said the judge could issue a decision Thursday after the hearing, could continue the hearing and hear additional testimony on another date, or could issue a decision later.

Onyango, the half-sister of Obama’s late father, moved to the United States in 2000. Her first asylum request was rejected, and she was ordered deported in 2004. But she didn’t leave the country and continued to live in public housing in Boston.

Her status as an illegal immigrant was revealed just days before Obama was elected in November 2008. Obama has said he didn’t know his aunt was living in the country illegally and immigration law should be followed.

In November, Onyango said she never asked Obama to intervene in her case and didn’t tell him about her immigration difficulties.

“He has nothing to do with my problem,” she told the AP.

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