Hispanic survey finds fear is ample
Capitol Media Services

Dec. 14, 2007


Legal, illegal Latinos weigh immigration issues' impact

By Howard Fischer

Tucson, Arizona | Published: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/216194


PHOENIX Half of all Hispanics in the U.S. fear they or someone close to them may get deported.

The new survey released Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center also found a wide disparity between the views of Hispanics and non-Hispanics on workplace raids, police enforcement of federal immigration laws and requiring proof of legal residence to get a driver's license.

And roughly half of Hispanics, whether here legally or not, said the increased public attention to immigration issues has negatively affected their lives. Other survey findings include:

● More than half of Latinos think discrimination is a major problem keeping them from succeeding.

● Three-quarters say undocumented workers help this country by providing low-cost labor, versus 17 percent who say they drive wages down.

● Nearly 80 percent of those questioned believe their children growing up in the United States will have better jobs and higher wages than they do.

The survey comes as a federal judge considers whether to let Arizona begin enforcing a new law punishing companies that knowingly employ undocumented workers. There already is some anecdotal evidence that just the threat of that statute, set to take effect Jan. 1, has resulted in some people leaving the state.

But the report shows the increased public attention on who is entering the country, including stepped-up work-site inspections by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is having effects on Hispanics nationwide.

The survey finds just 20 percent of Hispanics approve of workplace "raids." That drops to just 12 percent among those who are not born here, although the report does not identify how many of the foreign-born are here legally.

Among all other groups, support for job-site enforcement by ICE reaches 51 percent.

A comparable disparity shows up in the question of whether local police should take an active role in enforcing federal immigration laws. Just one in seven Latinos agrees, versus a nearly even split among others.

But the report found native-born Hispanics took positions on immigration enforcement somewhat closer to those of the rest of the population than those born elsewhere.

And Hispanics who are not citizens are twice as likely to worry about deportation for themselves or others than those who are citizens.

Similar disparities show up among those who say they are having a harder time getting or keeping employment.

Only 5 percent of native-born Latinos say they have been affected. Among those born elsewhere who are bilingual or primarily speak English, that figure rises to 13 percent. Among those who mainly speak Spanish, it approaches 20 percent.

But the survey found little difference between native- and foreign-born Hispanics on whether the increased public attention to immigration issues makes them less likely to travel outside the United States or apply for government services.

It did conclude, though, that native-born Hispanics are twice as likely as those born elsewhere to believe illegal immigration is having a negative effect on Latinos living here.

Yet the Pew Hispanic Center also found 47 percent of foreign-born Hispanics believe there are too many immigrants in this country, versus just 35 percent of native-born Hispanics who share that belief.

The results are from a survey of 2,003 Hispanics conducted during a five-week period ending Nov. 9. About a third of these were native-born, including Puerto Ricans.

what the survey askS

Regardless of your citizenship, how much do you worry that you, a family member or a close friend would be deported?

Percent saying a lot or some:

All Hispanics 53%

Native born 32%

Foreign born 67%

Approval of workplace raids:

Hispanics 20%

Native born 31%

Foreign born 12%

Non-Hispanics 51%

Approval of police taking active role in enforcing federal immigration law:

Hispanics 14%

Native born 20%

Foreign born 9%

Non-Hispanics 45%

Do illegal immigrants hurt the economy?

All Hispanics 17% yes

Native born 27% yes

Foreign born 11% yes

Do illegal immigrants have a negative impact on Hispanics?

All Hispanics 20% yes

Native born 29% yes

Foreign born 14% yes

Are there too many immigrants in the United States?

All Hispanics 42% yes

Native born 35% yes

Foreign born 47% yes

Source: Pew Hispanic Center