The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Latino Fears of Anti-Immigrant Backlash Rise

Last updated: July 31, 2020 | October 28, 2010 | Thomas Dixon

A new poll from Pew Hispanic Center provides some insight into how Latinos — both U.S.-born and immigrants — view immigration issues. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that fears over discrimination and deportation have increased since 2009. This makes sense: Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported a record number of illegal immigrants this year, and one-third of the Latinos polled said they knew someone who had been deported or detained by immigration officials within the past year.

But despite laws such as Arizona’s SB 1070 that increased fears of anti-immigrant backlash, the number who reported experiencing discrimination remained nearly the same as it was in 2009, at about 33 percent. The number of Latinos who said they had been asked for papers actually went down a few percentage points, from nine percent in 2008 to five percent in the most recent poll.

While Latinos largely dislike laws like SB 1070 — 79 percent said they opposed it, versus 32 percent percent of Americans overall who opposed the law — and think immigration enforcement should be left to federal authorities, they differ on how the country should handle illegal immigration. Here’s a breakdown on what Latinos said should be done with undocumented immigrants already in the country:

Pew Latino preferences

Most Latinos polled said they disapprove of other enforcement measures such as workplace raids or more fences along the border. About half support the idea of more border patrol agents, though, and most said they would support a national ID card.

The poll also adds some interesting perspective to the debate over so-called “anchor babies,” or the practice of illegal immigrants coming to the country to have children who will be U.S. citizens. While 30 percent of Latinos said illegal immigrants come to the United States to have a child here, 64 percent said this was untrue. Republican politicians have said birthright citizenship creates an incentive for illegal immigration, and some plan to propose legislation ending the practice in their states.

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