Poll: Latinos Reject Border-First Approach to CIR

Latino Decisions and Presente.org just released the results of a poll that measures how Latinos are feeling about this latest attempt at immigration reform. Needless to say, they aren’t feeling the enforcement/border-first approach being pushed by the Republicans with little defense from the Democrats. Of course, in all of this, no one seems to be asking how Latinos, much less immigrants, feel about all of this, right? I’m glad Presente.org is doing it.

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. 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

So, one has to think that Chuck Schumer is complicit in this whole border-first strategy, and an article in Politico speaks to the division among Senate Democrats that hasn’t really boiled over, yet.

Sen. Chuck Schumer’s pitch to find 70-plus votes for a sweeping immigration overhaul is running into skeptics from his own party – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Whip Dick Durbin.

The top two Senate Democrats believe that the push to win more GOP senators could significantly water down the measure, arguing their party should instead focus on the more achievable goal of securing the 60 votes needed to break an expected Republican filibuster. The Democratic leaders don’t believe they should make major concessions to conservatives — mainly on issues such as border security — in order to inflate the vote tally.

Schumer seems to think that inflated numbers will force the House Republicans to go along with a worsened bill. Meanwhile, Leader Reid and Dick Durbin fall more on the side of showing a little backbone and not allowing the Republicans to run over the Democrats, or in this case, immigrants.

Back to the poll, it would seem that Latinos are a-ok with LGBT immigrants being included in the bill.

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.

Family is family, obviously, and Senator Leahy filed his amendment today. Hopefully the evangelicals will get on board and not freak out. Still, it will be tough for the amendment to pass. But, let it  be heard that if it doesn’t pass, it will be because of homophobic members of Congress, and not Latinos.

And what about “Latino” Ted Cruz’s strategy of providing for legal status, but not citizenship?

 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.

So, Republicans, especially their whiny Latino in the room, continue to be disconnected from Latinos on immigration reform. If anything, both Republicans and Democrats have been effective at keeping the worst of the bill out of the ears of Latinos, since a majority didn’t know about the $6.5 billion border boon for contractors. And if Democrats don’t shape up and fight against enforcement-heavy initiatives, it seems no political party will gain much, especially trust, from Latinos (and I don’t mean the future citizens).

Want to find out where Latinos stand? Click on the link and read the results carefully.

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