Americas Majority Foundation Report on Immigration

Based on a report produced by Americas Majority Foundation to be ready by January 2017:

Since 2004, when Bush garnered slightly over two of every five Hispanic voters, Republicans have lost ground among Hispanic voters over the next election cycles. Hispanics played a central role in the 2016 election in key battleground states, in particular Nevada and Colorado.   

Pew Studies on a survey of Hispanic voters before the 2014 election noted that 54% of Hispanic voters could support a candidate who disagreed with them on immigration but one third of Hispanics would vote against a candidate who disagreed with them. To what extent will this become an issue for Hispanics and how will this affect GOP efforts in the future?

We noticed a change in Hispanic attitude on immigration in our August 2014 survey.  After the child exodus from Central America, many Americans became aware that Obama’s administration seemed not to be concerned about border security.  This may have been a game changer along with Ebola hitting our shores; many Americans viewed border security as a prerequisite for further immigration reform.

When asked about certain options in our 2014 Hispanic August poll, 20% of Hispanics supported border security before any further immigration reform, whereas 16% of Hispanics favored allowing those who were here illegally to stay provided they had a job, but no citizenship, whereas 49% wanted a path to citizenship for those that were here. The rest either didn’t know or had other ideas unidentified.  

In a 2014 post-election poll conducted among Hispanics in Wisconsin, New Mexico and Illinois, 27% favored no immigration until border security, whereas nearly 19% favored to allow illegals to stay but no path to citizenship.  36% believed in a path to citizenship, whereas 18% favored other options not identified.  

In exit polls for black voters in Wisconsin and North Carolina, 20% of blacks favored no immigration until border security, whereas 19% favored allowing illegals to stay in the country but no path to citizenship, while 36% believed in a path to citizenship and 24% believed in other options.  

In our national poll following the 2014 election, 27% of blacks and 26% of Hispanics did not support immigration until the border is secured. 17% of black voters and 23% of Hispanics supported allowing illegals to stay in the country but no path to citizenship, while 33% of black voters and 35% of Hispanics supported a path of citizenship, while other options were supported by 22% of black voters and 15% of Hispanics. 45% of white voters supported border security before any discussion of any immigration reform, nearly 14% supported allowing those to stay with not path security, while nearly 23% supported a path to citizenship, while the rest supported other options.

There are two ways to view this. Less than half of Hispanics support a path to citizenship but 55% to 65% of those surveyed in the three surveys conducted in 2014 supported options allowing illegals to stay and two thirds of those favoring legal status for illegals supported a path to citizenship.  (50% of black voters in our national poll supports option that allows the immigrants to stay in the country whereas only 38% of white voters do.)

In our 2014 national poll, 65% of white voters and 56% of black voters believed that additional immigration will take away jobs, whereas 54% of Hispanics believe that Hispanics add to jobs.

Hispanics were more willing to support options to allowing illegals to stay in the country but only 35% to 49% of Hispanics supported a path to citizenship for illegals outright. If the Pew Center research is right, many Hispanics are willing to listen to Republicans on other issues even if they disagree with Republicans on immigration.  In 2016, Democrats used immigration as a wedge issues to get Hispanics out to vote.  While Hispanics increased their turnout by 10%, they actually voted for Trump at a slightly higher level than they did Romney in 2012.    

Hispanics are not a monolithic group as they have as varied a demographic as white voters and as we have already seen that many Hispanics do have views similar to other white voters. Further confusion can be seen in our summer survey when Hispanics were asked, “should those children who enter the country last summer be allowed to stay?” 80% said yes but nearly 60% said no when asked, “would you want those children moved to your neighborhood?”  While it can be argued that Hispanics are supportive of options to allow illegals staying here, it is not as overwhelming as one supposes.  

In the two separate 2016 national polls, with Voice Broadcasting poll, similar to data produced in 2014, and the other, differ as far as what to do about path to citizenship but both polls showed similarity as far what future immigration levels should look like.

In the Voice broadcasting poll, 39% of the voters opposed any further immigration reforms until the border is secured, 11% stated they would allow immigrants legal status provided they had a job but not a path to citizenship, while 37% stated they wanted a path to citizenship.

58% of Republicans and 40% of Independents favored no further immigration until the border is secured, while only 19% of Democrats wanted to wait for the border to be secured.  12% of Democrats, 10% of Republicans and 12% of Independent favored allowing illegals to stay but no path to citizenship and provided the illegals had a job.  55% of Democrats and 35% favored allowing illegals a path to citizenship, whereas only 19% Republicans favored a path to citizenship. 

40% of whites, 26% blacks, 27% Hispanics and 34% Asians favored no further immigration reform until the border is secured, while 11% of whites, 17% blacks, 13% Hispanics and 16% Asians favored legal status for illegals provided they had a job but no path to citizenship. 36% of whites, 41% of blacks, 47% of Hispanics and 39% of Asians favored a path to citizenship.

This contrast to the Cygnal poll in which 34% of voters wanted no further immigration until the border is secured, while 47% favored a path to citizenship and 10% favored allowing a legal status but no path to citizenship.  So it would appear that there is a divided America on this issue as one poll had border security given priority over any path to citizenship and the other viewed a path to citizenship as more important.  

51% of Republicans, 18% Democrats and 33% Independents wanted border security before proceeding with any further immigration, while 64% of Democrats and 47% of Independents favored a path to citizenship with only 30% of Republicans supporting allowing a path to citizenship.   10% Republicans, 9% Democrats and 11% of Independents favored allowing legal status based on employment status but no path to citizenship.

36% of whites, 21% blacks, 21% Hispanics and 28% of Asians wanted border security before any further immigration reform but 45% whites, 55% blacks, 60% Hispanics and 55% Asians favored a path to citizenship.  10% whites, 12% blacks, 14% Hispanics and 12% Asians favored allowing legal status but no path to citizenship. 

Americas Majority has numerous polls in which the support for legal status was lower than other polls but one conclusion that can be made, the majority of minorities favor legal status for illegal status for illegals but the polls are divided over if a majority of minorities believe in a path to citizenship.  Whites, as a group, slightly favor legal status but less than half favor a path to citizenship. Throughout the Republican primary, a majority of Republicans favor legal status for illegals, and in exit polls, 70% of voters favored legal status but in neither case did the definition of what constitutes legal status get asked.  In our poll we did ask that question and got a more definite answer of what voters wanted.  

Another question rarely asked is the level of future immigration.  While many polls may ask whether immigration is good for America or ask about legal status, rarely do we get an insight on whether voters actually want immigration levels to stay the same, be reduced or increased.  Here we see there is a consensus being formed. 

In the Voice Broadcasting poll, 49% of voters favored reduced levels while only 26% favored either keeping the level the same or increased with the rest unsure.  In the Cyngal poll, 51% of voters wanted a reduction in immigration levels while only 33% wanted immigration levels increased or the same.  In the Voice Broadcasting poll, 68% of Republicans and 50% of Independents favored reduced immigration levels, while 12% of Republicans and 26% of Independents wanted levels to be increased or remain the same.  31% of Democrats wanted reduced immigration while 40% wanted more immigration or levels to stay the same.  In the Cyngal poll, 64% of Republicans and 47% of Independents wanted reduced levels while only 19% Republicans and 36% of Independents wanted to see increased immigrations or immigration staying the same.  39% Democrats favored reduce levels while 46% wanted to see either immigration levels to stay the same or increased.  

In the Voice Broadcasting poll, 51% white voters, 38% black voters, 40% Hispanic voters and 42% Asian voters wanted to see immigration levels reduced while 25% white voters, 29% black voters, 33% Hispanic voters and 41% Asian voters wanted to see immigration levels increase or stay the same.   In the Cyngal poll, 53% white voters, 41% blacks, 46% Hispanics and 50% Asian voters wanted to see immigration reduced while 31% whites, 40% black voters, 45% Hispanics and 36% Asians favored increased immigration levels or levels remaining the same. 

While Democrats favored increased immigration, a significant numbers of Democrats would love to see immigration levels reduced and Republicans and Independents favored lower levels of immigration.  Nearly half of Hispanics favored reduction of immigration levels and this is a change from 2014 when the majority of Hispanics viewed immigration as a positive for the economy while other groups viewed it as a negative.  Now it could be argued that more Hispanics favor lower immigration levels as oppose supporting increasing levels and even many Hispanics doubt if increased immigration levels will actually raise the overall economy.  

This certainly points to a possible compromise on immigration reform with a significant numbers of Americans favoring border security as a perquisite for further reform and while Americans favor legal status and a path to citizenship, they also want future immigration levels to be reduced to allow for assimilation and don’t view increased immigration as a boon to their economic health.

So any reforms that combine all three have a chance to pass and one of the great secrets of the election was that the Trump reform, when completed, would have resulted in nearly the same number of illegals allowed legal status as other plans.  The difference was that Trump reforms doesn’t happen until the border is secure and those illegals with criminal records are deported.  Republicans are moving toward a future immigration plan that reduces future immigration levels and on this score, it would appear that most Americans, including minorities, agree.  

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