New Poll on Immigration: Whites versus Latinos

An NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll was just released, and reveals what they term a huge “racial divide” between Latinos and white Americans. (Here is the full pdf on the survey.) First they note an overall finding on Arizona’s law:

In the poll, 61 percent say they favor Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law, which would require local and state law enforcement officers to question people about their immigration status if they have reason to suspect a person is in the country illegally.

And, in effect, it requires the police to do racial profiling (how else do you have reason to suspect ordinary citizens, in most cases?) The law also allows citizens to sue the police for not enforcing the law vigorously. So many police chiefs are opposed to such legislation. Then there is the big poll finding:

A divide among white and Latino respondents: 70 percent of whites support the law, versus just 31 percent of Latinos. In fact, 58 percent of Latinos say they strongly oppose it. That’s not the only chasm between White and Latino America. While 68 percent of Latinos believe that immigration strengthens the United States, just 43 percent of whites think that.

It is odd that so many whites do not “get it.” Denigrating, targeting, and racializing Latino immigrants is not even in their longterm interest. Who does much of the “dirty work” and service work that greatly undergirds the lifestyle of 41Krhlnz4lL._SL500_AA300_Middle Class America? Without all these younger folks, that is, the hardworking immigrant workers from Mexico, Central America, and Asia, the U.S. would be heading for an extremely serious demographic decline in the next few decades (as in much of Europe already). That would mean means fewer workers—thus, fewer people to do the work of society and pay most of the taxes, including for the social security payments of retiring (mostly white) baby boomers.

The pundits and pollsters, of course, focus on the political implications of the poll:

… the survey suggests that Republicans could get an immediate political boost, but may face a long-term problem among Latinos, the nation’s fastest-growing demographic group. “Are there areas where the Republicans can make short-term gains? Yes,” says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart…. “But the fear is that they have long-term losses.” What’s more, 37 percent of whites view the Republican Party favorably, while just 22 percent of Latinos have a favorable impression of the GOP.

So, it looks like the “white political party,” the Republican party, has decided again to alienate most all voters of color. One thing they seem to be forgetting too is that another very fast growing group of color is also heavily composed of immigrants—Asian Americans. I have not seen any discussion or poll of Asian Americans on these issues, but I think it is fairly safe to think they are not happy either with the many extremist attacks targeting hardworking immigrant workers these days. What do you think?


  1. Seattle in Texas

    Just had to repeat this question, “Who does much of the “dirty work” and service work that greatly undergirds the lifestyle of Middle Class America?” And where’s the respect, gratitude, and appreciation? Seriously.

    I just wanted to only add to Joe’s point above, which is technically correct in that the majority are younger folks, but we should not overlook the people in the middle years who contribute also, and all the way up to seniors who work very long, hard days.

    As for privileged Americans who have lived rather comfortable and spoiled lives, spent their teen years in high school and got their diplomas, went on to college or eased into some other professional career, or whatever, many immigrant teens do not have that. Some even begin their death process, quite literally, when they begin working in the U.S. for the U.S. exploiters, of whom, get their wealth from their labor supply and American consumerism/demand. The maturity levels are much higher among these communities also, in comparison to the average U.S. middle class families. They grow up fast and have much wisdom from hard lived experiences in such short periods of time coupled with their collective memories–they have no choice, nor do they have the luxury of being “mainstream” and generally ignorant, like many Americans–those lifestyles many Americans take for granted and believe they are simply “entitled” to and/or who claim they have “worked so hard for.”

    The republicans have already done enough damage (including the massive damage killing the gulf coast as we speak) and thankfully they are actively securing the next presidential election for the democrats. I have my own criticisms of democrats also, but that’s for another time and place….

    I realize I have a few admirers out there *cough* *cough*… go ahead, flatter me and hide my comment now

  2. zinobia

    I find it a bit interesting that many White Americans forget their own ethnic history as they assimilate and integrate into American society. It was not to long ago when the Irish, Polish, German, Italian, Russian, and various other European immigrants came to America and faced stereotyping, discrimination, police brutality, and various other forms of persecution. How quickly some White Americans forget that the injustices their ancestors fought to save them from now affect a different ethnic group. The only reason that they are free from such persecution is that many White Americans do not identify with their ethnicity and their skin color qualifies them for White privilege.

    As for the Republican party, it is not surprising that they have chosen to continue to alienate voters of color, and arguably, this trend will continue until people of color have what matters most in American society (wealth, political power, and the desire to rule others).

  3. Joe

    And at least as important is the major contributions these immigrants are making to keeping US economy and society thriving. European countries, with low immigration, are facing very serious shortages of workers in the near future, as old (usually white) folks retire. Of course, many of the immigrant workers (esp those undocumented) in the US are severely exploited and mistreated, even as they do much of the hard work of the society.


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