The Corner

New Hispanic Poll on Immigration

The Pew Hispanic Center has a new poll out of Hispanic attitudes related to immigration. Maybe most interesting is this:

Hispanics are also divided about the impact of illegal immigration on Hispanics already living in the U.S. Roughly equal shares say the impact has been positive (29%), negative (31%) or made no difference (30%). This mixed judgment stands in sharp contrast to views that Latinos expressed on this subject in 2007. Back then, fully half (50%) of Latinos said the impact was positive, while just 20% said it was negative.

That suggests that Hispanics understand that illegal immigration represents job competition for them, which is why they judge its impact more negatively now than before the recession.

On the question of policy toward illegal immigrants already here, the survey asked an odd question. First, it asked about a “path to citizenship” on its own, which is a conventional question, and got overwhelmingly positive response. But a subsequent question presented the options of what should be done with the illegals, offering only these options: “Illegal immigrants should be deported,” 13 percent;  “Illegal immigrants should pay a fine, but not be deported,” 53 percent; and “Illegal immigrants should not be punished,” 28 percent ( I assume that last was taken to mean they shouldn’t even have to pay a fine to be allowed to stay). So, that’s two kinds of amnesty, or deportation.

But this is the same game that much of mainstream polling plays with this issue, failing to offer attrition as an option. When CIS polled Hispanics (and others) late last year, we offered different choices: “Which approach do you prefer to deal with illegal immigrants in the country? Statement A: Enforcing the law and causing them to return home over time. Statement B: Granting legal status and a pathway to citizenship to most illegal immigrants.” Amnesty got only 34 percent support among Hispanics, with attrition garnering 52 percent.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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