By Jose Serrano
April 25, 2016
Three out of four Latinos will cast ballots for a presidential candidate supporting deportation relief programs, according to an America's Voice and Latino Decisions poll released last week.
Asked what their most important issue was ahead of November's general election, 41 percent of the 2,200 registered voters surveyed said immigration reform and deportations were at the top of their list, followed by the economy (24 percent) and education reform (16 percent).
"While Latinos care about all issues, our community remains deeply and personally affected by the issue of immigration," said Voto Latino CEO Maria Teresa Kumar in a press statement. "How each party chooses to tackle the issue of immigration will directly influence who Latino votes will back."
Over 60 percent don't personally know any young people who applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and just as many aren't aware of friends or families facing deportation, yet an overwhelming number -- 72 percent -- are leaning towards Democratic candidates solely because of their pro-immigration stance.
Kumar acknowledged that DACA and the accompanying Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program aren't permanent fixes for the country's immigration dilemma. In order to sustain positive change this election cycle, Kumar said, "Latino voters, including the 1.6 million voters with a DACA/DAPA-eligible family member, must show up."
On April 18, U.S. Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments DAPA/DACA case, a case stemming from President Obama's 2014 executive order allowing undocumented parents work permits and children deportation protection if they meet certain requirements.
Texas initiated the 26-state lawsuit challenging the programs' constitutionality. Republican lawmakers argue that DAPA and DACA could hurt states financially, if they don't violate existing laws.
Pro-immigration advocates, many who gathered outside the Capitol last Monday, believe this is common-sense legislation that would unite families and allow a pathway to residency to some 11 million undocumented individuals already living in the U.S.
The president's deferred action proposals, along with conservative lawmakers' rebuttals, directly led 75 percent of respondents to say they are now "more likely" to vote Democrat; 74 percent they are "less likely" to vote Republican.
Despite Obama's modest approval rating, 73 percent of Latinos still approve of the job he's doing.
Latinos were split on which Democratic candidate they view more favorably, Party front-runner Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Thirty-seven percent saw Clinton as "very favorable," compared to 29 percent for Sanders. Conversely, 32 percent thought Sanders is "somewhat favorable" to Clinton's 25 percent; an equal 61 percent saw both as "total favorable."
GOP candidates weren't seen in the same light.
An overwhelming 87 percent have a "total unfavorable" view of said Republican delegate leader Donald Trump. If the general election narrowed to Trump and Clinton, 76 percent would vote for the former Secretary of State.
Based on Trump views - those calling Mexicans rapists and criminals, along with plans to enhance the border wall at Mexico's expense - prompted 71 percent of participants to say he is the most anti-immigration candidate running.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz earned just as much opprobrium. His plan to deport every undocumented immigrant through self-deportation drew 74 percent to say they are "less likely" to vote for him. Fifty-five percent said his negative view on immigration, which may include enhanced surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods, made their decision easier.
"In a campaign that at times has been fueled by hateful rhetoric against Latinos and immigrants, these findings illustrate what we've known all along- family unity is at the heart of the Latino community just as it is at the heart of our American values," Kumar said.
She added, "Come Nov. 8, Latinos will head to the polls and will vote based on who will fight for our community and take a stand against hate, not on party politics."
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