When U.S. politicians talk about what Hispanic voters want, they often bring up immigration. Many members of Congress, especially Democrats, assume Hispanic voters want less immigration enforcement and more immigration. In 2020, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led calls to cut the Border Patrol’s budget to punish them for “inflicting harm on our communities.” By “inflicting harm,” she apparently meant guarding the U.S.-Mexico border and arresting those crossing illegally.
Among Republicans, Rep. Mayra Flores symbolizes a new breed of Hispanic officeholders who stand for stricter border enforcement. Ms. Flores, who won a special election in June to represent the 34th Congressional district in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, is the first Republican to represent her area in 150 years, and the first woman born in Mexico to ever enter Congress. She recently called on Congress to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas for failing to enforce immigration laws and causing the border crisis.
Which of these women has a better handle on the immigration views of America’s 62 million Hispanics? According to two large new polls of Hispanic likely voters conducted by Rasmussen Reports, Ms. Flores wins by a mile.
Fifty-two percent of Hispanic likely voters believe the government is doing “too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays.” Only 15% believe the government is doing “too much.” And 25% say the government’s efforts are about right, and 9% aren’t sure.
So more than three times as many Hispanic voters think the government is neglecting the border than feel the government is over-policing it. That’s significant!
Another question: Should the government require every business to use the federal E-Verify system to make sure new employees can legally work in the U.S.? By a huge margin, 73% to 18%, Hispanic likely voters say yes!
Should the approximately 12 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. get amnesty? Hispanics are split on that, with 46% favoring it and 51% opposing it. But when you look at just those who “strongly favor” or “strongly oppose” amnesty, the picture clarifies. Only 24% “strongly” favor such an amnesty, while 36% “strongly” oppose it.
Another hot-button issue is chain migration, which is one immigrant getting citizenship and then sponsoring extended family members. When these more distant relatives come in and get their citizenship, they in turn sponsor their siblings and parents, leading to never-ending chains. Rasmussen asked whether immigrants should be able to sponsor extended family members, or should they be able to sponsor only spouses and minor children. By 66% to 27%, Hispanic likely voters were clear: Immigrants should be able to sponsor only spouses and minor children.
While Republican members of Congress agree that illegal immigration should be stopped, they become a little more tongue-tied when it comes to legal immigration. Former President Donald Trump wanted to increase legal immigration, he sometimes said. What do America’s Hispanic voters say? Fifty-eight percent say they want to cut legal immigration numbers below the current 1 million a year. Only 15% want to increase the annual number!
In this time of inflation pain, you’d think voters would be in favor of almost anything to keep prices under control. But this does not include bringing in more immigrants. Hispanics were asked: “When businesses say they are having trouble finding Americans to take jobs in construction, manufacturing, hospitality and other service work, what is generally best for the country? Is it better for businesses to raise the pay and try harder to recruit non-working Americans even if it causes prices to rise, or is it better for the government to bring in new foreign workers to help keep business costs and prices down?”
An astounding 64% of Hispanic likely voters responded that it would be better for businesses to raise pay in order to recruit American workers “even if it causes prices to rise.” Only 22% said businesses should recruit foreign workers to keep costs down.
What AOC and other left-leaning Democratic politicians are missing is that Hispanic voters are first and foremost American citizens! They know which side they’re on, and it’s the side of Americans just like them! And the reason isn’t too hard to identify. When Rasmussen asked Hispanics whether America seemed “open and welcoming” to “Hispanics like you,” 80% of the likely voters said yes, America was open and welcoming! 43% said America was “very” open and welcoming, against just 2% who said America was “not at all” open and welcoming.
In fact, Hispanic Americans’ opinions on how to handle immigration are remarkably similar to those of their fellow citizens. This should not be surprising. Two-thirds of Hispanics were born in this country, with millions of others who legally immigrated and worked to become citizens. They agree with most other Americans that we’re a great country where citizenship must be earned and whose borders must be protected.
• Adapted exclusively for The Washington Times from Jim Robb’s upcoming book, “Political Migrants: Hispanic Voters on the Move,” published Sept. 15 by NumbersUSA.