Asylum Seekers in the US-Mexico Border
Migrants expecting to cross the border in Arizona. AFP

In a new poll, UnidosUS, the nation's largest Latino nonprofit advocacy organization, found that concerns over immigration among Latino voters in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania was right behind economic concerns.

The findings provide valuable insights into the perspectives and priorities of Latino voters in these critical states that are considered to be essential for the upcoming presidential elections. A recent Axios report revealed the result might come down to just 6% of U.S. voters who vote in just six states: the three aforementioned ones, plus Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The UnidosUS poll conducted by Lake Research Partners and The Tarrance Group, reveals that, although inflation and cost of living continue to be the highest priorities for Latino voters, immigration continues to rise.

Respondents in all three states had similar immigration, border and asylum policy priorities, especially when it came to providing protection for the long-residing undocumented, cracking down on drug and human smugglers and working with other countries to protect asylum seekers.

"Fair, firm and free of cruelty—that is the message from Hispanic voters on immigration and the situation at the southern border," concluded Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Latino Vote Initiative Vice President of UnidosUS from the results. She also added that:

"For too long, some have tried to set up relief and enforcement as competing objectives, and the result has been the further unraveling of our immigration system. Latino voters understand these are intertwined threads, key to restore order to the border and to our immigration system. They want border policy that improves management and security, provides safety to people seeking refuge and advances legality for undocumented people deeply rooted in our country. As perhaps the single most impacted community by the deterioration of our immigration system, and a decisive electorate, candidates would be wise to heed their message."

The poll revealed specific insights into each state's preferences. For example, immigration and the border rank significantly higher in Arizona, almost tying with inflation and the cost of living as top issues. Voters in Nevada and Pennsylvania prioritize providing a path to citizenship for long-residing undocumented individuals (44% and 48% respectively) and Dreamers (36% and 35% respectively), and cracking down on human smugglers (28% and 35%).

When it comes to asylum policies, all three states prioritize partnering with other countries to help asylum seekers find protection elsewhere, although the degree in which they do, varies: 38% in Arizona, 40% in Nevada and 43% in Pennsylvania.

"These findings provide a roadmap for taking on our challenges at the U.S./Mexico border that reflects the values of Latino voters" said Cris Ramón, Senior Advisor on Immigration at UnidosUS. "Tackling pressing security issues, providing a pathway to relief for the long-residing undocumented, and working with other countries to address the reception of asylum seekers form the core of a pragmatic, principled and forward-thinking border policy."

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