Pharos-Tribune

Columns

July 14, 2013

CEPEDA: The immigration-reform pickle

(Continued)

In March and May, the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People and the Press surveyed adults from various demographic groups about how to handle immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Only 60 percent of the respondents who believed these immigrants should be allowed to stay favored offering citizenship, while 34 percent preferred just permanent residency.

This is not significantly far apart from the Hispanic-only response — 59 percent of those who want immigrants to stay legally preferred a path to citizenship while 40 percent would stop at permanent residency.

But the loudest of the pro-immigration pundits who wield the Hispanic vote as a weapon (despite the fact that Hispanics vote in far lower numbers than other racial/ethnic groups) would have everyone believe that few Latinos — much less half of a representative sample — would ever consider a legalization-only compromise. And they’d surely never admit that almost 10 percent of Hispanics in this survey said such immigrants should not be allowed to stay legally.

In fact, the voting behavior of Latinos is such a muddle that Republicans are starting to wonder if these low-turnout voters are even worth fighting for. Over the last few weeks there have been multiple news stories about how House Republicans, in their safe, predominantly white districts, may not even need Hispanic support to keep their majority power intact.

What a shame that stories and data about the diversity of Hispanic political attitudes don’t get the same play. A recent feature on Pacific Standard magazine’s website titled “Hey GOP: Mexican Immigrants Aren’t Necessarily Democrats” said it best: “New research suggests Mexican immigrants in the U.S. are all over the political spectrum — and those on the right are more likely to vote.”

Many other resources about the true potential of the “Hispanic vote” are available for anyone who cares to learn about Hispanics’ diverse and evolving political views.

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