Politics

Poll: Hispanic Voters Want Immigration Enforcement

Survey shows Latinos favored Trump's immigration polices, even if they voted for Clinton

While President-Elect Donald Trump lost the Hispanic vote in last week’s election, Latinos actually favored his immigration policies over Democrat Hillary Clinton’s, according to poll released Thursday by an advocacy group.

Zogby Analytics surveyed 1,004 voters after last week’s election on behalf for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington group that favors stricter enforcement and lower levels of legal immigration.

“The conventional wisdom that advocating enforcement of immigration laws is a deal-killer for Hispanic voters is just plain wrong.”

Some 58.5 percent of Hispanic voters — including about a third who dislike Trump as a person — said they “support Donald Trump’s immigration policies.” That compares with 32.9 percent who indicated that they “support Hillary Clinton’s immigration policies.” The poll found that Hispanics actually were more supportive of Trump’s immigration policies than all voters.

“The conventional wisdom that advocating enforcement of immigration laws is a deal-killer for Hispanic voters is just plain wrong,” FAIR President Dan Stein said in a prepared statement. “It is a myth perpetuated by groups and individuals with a political stake in maintaining mass immigration and by a bunch of high-price political consultants who continually misread public sentiment.”

The results stand in stark contrast to exit polls conducted for major news organizations, which indicated that 70 percent of voters preferred legal status over deportation for illegal immigrants, and by a 54-41 margin, voters opposed Trump’s signature issue — building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

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Hispanic voters also were less likely than voters overall to name immigration as important or somewhat important to their vote.

[lz_table title=”Hispanic Immigration Views” source=”Federation for American Immigration Reform”]Position,All,Hispanics
More enforcement,50.3%,39.3%
Grant legal status,44%,48.8%
No changes,5.7%,2.7%
|Survey of 1004 voters taken Nov. 9-10
[/lz_table]

The survey suggests that Hispanic voters were much more sympathetic to illegal immigrants already in the country. Among Latinos, 48.8 percent said they support providing an opportunity to become legal residents, while 39.3 percent favored enforcing and strengthening immigration laws to encourage illegal immigrants to return home. Another 11.9 preferred no change. Among all voters, 50.3 percent favored stepping up immigration enforcement, while 44 percent chose legalization.

“People hold conflicting opinions,” said FAIR spokesman Ira Mehlman, explaining the contradictory results.

Chris Chmielenski, director of content and activism at NumbersUSA, said other surveys have indicated that Hispanics are pro-enforcement.

[lz_related_box id=”245237″]

“They support immigration enforcement just as much as non-Hispanic voters do,” he said.

Chmielenski said Hispanic residents may be more likely to face competition in the labor market from illegal immigrants and experience impacts like school overcrowding and a strain on government services. Many also appreciate a consistent application of the law, he added.

“A lot of them come from places that don’t have rule of law,” he said

Trump lost the Hispanic vote badly last week, although the exit polls suggested he did a little bit better among the demographic than 2012 nominee Mitt Romney.

Stein said in his statement that other issues seem to have played a larger role in how Hispanics decided to cast their ballots.

“Donald Trump may not have won the Hispanic vote in this election, but clearly it was not because of his views on immigration,” he said. “If anything, his positions on immigration seem to have helped him among Hispanic voters whose economic circumstances are being harmed by excessive immigration and unchecked illegal immigration.”

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