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Poll: Latinos want strong enforcement of immigration laws, and paths to citizenship for some groups

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent passes along a section of border wall in Hidalgo, Texas.
Eric Gay
/
Associated Press
A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent passes along a section of border wall in Hidalgo, Texas. A new poll by UnidosUS shows that Latino voters believe providing a path to citizenship for long-term undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients can be accomplished alongside strong enforcement.

Immigration is expected to be a significant topic of discussion during the presidential debate Thursday. In the leadup to that debate, a new survey shines a light on what Latino voters think about immigration policy in the United States.

Latinos want an immigration policy that is “fair, firm and free of cruelty” — that's according to a new survey thatpolled 800 registered Latino voters, primarily in the swing states of Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Janet Murguía is president and CEO of UnidosUS, the group that conducted the poll. Murguía said Latino voters believe providing a path to citizenship for long-term undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients can be accomplished alongside strong enforcement.

“They want a policy that secures the border for example, by cracking down on smugglers and provide a safe haven to those seeking refuge,” she said. “Like the majority of Americans, they want an effective and humane immigration system that works for a 21st century America.”

For too long, immigration policies have treated border enforcement and asylum procedures as competing priorities rather than things that could work more hand-in-hand, said UnidosUS Latino Vote Initiative Vice President Clarissa Martinez de Castro.

“And success calls for functioning legal channels that incentivize people to come with a visa rather than fall prey to smugglers and smart enforcement that protects our border and security as well as those fleeing persecution,” Martinez de Castro said.

An estimated 18 million voters who identify as Latino will be voting in 2024, according to UnidosUS, with 1 in 5 voters doing so for the first time.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio (KNPR) in Las Vegas, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.