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Poll: Supporters of Tough Immigration Laws Don’t Dislike Hispanics

Supporters of tougher immigration enforcement are motivated by concerns about the economy and law enforcement, not by negative feelings towards Hispanics, according to 77 percent of Americans polled in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released yesterday. Twenty percent of the 1,018 people surveyed said those who favor tough laws do so mostly because they dislike Hispanics. Among Hispanics, the number was higher: 34 percent said supporters of harsh policies dislike Hispanics.

Most Americans were dissatisfied or angry with the number of illegal immigrants currently in the country, but whites indicated the most discomfort: 54 percent said they were dissatisfied with the level of illegal immigration, while 24 percent said they were angry. CNN breaks down some of the results:

“Anger is highest among blue-collar white men,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Thirty-seven percent of white men with no college degree say they are angry about illegal immigration. That figure drops to 27 percent among white women with no college degree, and to 15 percent among whites who graduated from college.”

At Huffington Post, activist Randall Amster makes a case today for why people are angry and afraid — and the dangers of this fear for Hispanics:

One of the unspoken tragedies and implicit intentions of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, is the promotion of a climate of fear among certain segments of the population. This fear-mongering strategy has been cooked up by the bill’s leading proponents and most likely beneficiaries: the governor, rightwing state legislators, and an unscrupulous sheriff who shall remain nameless. As the political leadership of a failing state, they should be squarely on the hot seat, but instead they have managed to deflect scrutiny and pass the buck down the ladder to the bottom rung instead.

Here in Arizona, constant talk of murders, beheadings, escalating crime, and a rising tide of violence due to the presence of illegal immigrants has fanned the flames of terror and suspicion. It is empirically false but emotionally persuasive, in the true spirit of propaganda and demagoguery.

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