Attitudes Towards Immigrants And Immigration Policy Surveys Among US Latinos And In Mexico

  • August 16, 2005

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Although an overwhelming majority of Hispanics expresses positive attitudes toward immigrants, relatively few Hispanics favor increasing the flow of legal immigration from Latin America and a significant minority, concentrated among native-born Latinos, is concerned that unauthorized migrants are hurting the economy. One hotly-debated means to discourage unauthorized migration -laws that deny drivers licenses to people who are in the country illegally - draws support from a majority of the native born, according to a survey of the Latino population in the United States conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center (PHC).

Meanwhile, separate PHC surveys conducted in Mexico show that about four of every ten adults in the Mexican population say they would migrate to the United States if they had the means and opportunity and that two of every ten are inclined to live and work here without legal authorization. The willingness to migrate, even illegally, is evident in all sectors of Mexican society including the middle class and the well-educated as well as those who are poor and who only completed low-levels of schooling.

Several major immigration reform bills were introduced in Congress earlier this summer, and President George W. Bush has said recently that he expects to see action on the topic when he and the Congress return to Washington in September. The various proposals under consideration generally aim to deal with two broad sets of policy challenges: Determining the status of the estimated 11 million persons, most of them Latinos, who currently live in the country without authorization. And, managing future migration flows.

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