Establishing a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants in the United States is an important issue for Hispanics, according to a survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center. The poll found that an overwhelming majority (83 percent) of Latinos support policies that eventually lead to citizenship for the country’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. This compares to 67 percent of the U.S. public overall.
The poll also found that 79 percent of Latinos surveyed said it’s “very important” or “somewhat important” to take in refugees escaping violence and war. More than eight in ten (86 percent) support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that protects some 800,000 immigrants (including 75,000 in Florida) from deportation. DACA is currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mirroring surveys of the overall U.S. population, the poll found differences between those who identified as Democrats and Republicans. 75 percent of Latino Democrats say the Trump administration has done a bad job dealing with asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, while 55 percent of Latino Republicans say the administration has done a good job.
“While Latinos, no matter their partisanship, are of a similar mind on immigration policy goals for the country, on some immigration issues, they do not agree [on]. This highlights the diversity of viewpoints among Latinos,” said Mark Hugo López, director of Hispanic research at the Pew Research Center.
The issue of immigration is expected to play a key role in this year’s presidential election. Latino voters are projected to be the country’s largest ethnic group, with an estimated 32 million eligible voters. A separate Pew survey conducted last month found the majority of Latino voters reside in just five states – California, Texas, Florida, New York and Arizona, in that order. Florida’s 3.1 million Latino voters represent 20 percent of the state’s voters.