Migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border
Migrants at the U.S.-Mexico borderPocketbook issues, such as affordability, remain at the top of the list for Latino voters. But now, they are also seeking answers to the migrant crisis. Creative Commons

NEW YORK CITY - The 2024 elections are set to be a tight race, and one in which Latinos are expected to play a decisive role. As Democrats and Republicans continue to invest millions of dollars in appealing to this electorate, Latinos are currently concerned with two particular issues— the economy and immigration.

Growing literature throughout this campaign cycle has overwhelmingly shown Latinos across different groups to be primarily concerned with the so-called "pocketbook issues", such as the cost of living, inflation and affordability.

But when it comes to immigration, priorities, concerns and goals become much more nuanced, according to a recently published study by UnidosUS, the country's largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization.

The new study, which surveyed a total of 800 Latino registered voters nationwide, found that while economic concerns continue to top the list of priorities for Hispanic voters, immigration has moved up, with half of voters from this demographic saying the issue will have a big impact on their vote for President and Congress.

In relation to the current scenario, Latino voters tend to agree that the current immigration system in place is broken, and that steps need to be taken to try to address this issue.

Among the top priorities for these voters are providing a path to citizenship for people with long-term undocumented status (53%) and DACA recipients (42%). A second tier of priorities include cracking down on human smugglers (29%), increasing border security (28%) and increasing legal immigration (27%). The lowest priorities include finishing the border wall (15%) and deporting all undocumented immigrants (15%).

However, when thinking about specific priorities for addressing the situation at the southern border, these lists tend to slightly shift. Most notably, in this category, Latino voters overwhelmingly prioritize cracking down on human traffickers and drug smugglers (82%) and also providing a path to citizenship for long-term undocumented immigrants.

This study comes at a time of great turmoil for immigration policy, particularly ones coming from the Biden administration. In the past month alone, President Biden announced two sweeping executive orders regarding this issue. One was considered to be one of the harshest immigration policies by a Democratic president in modern history, which would essentially shut down the border after a daily threshold is met.

The other, which was more celebrated by immigration advocates, will protect undocumented spouses of American citizens from potential deportation and allow them to legally work in the country.

"This poll reflects that securing the border and helping immigrants are not incompatible for Latino voters— rather, they are both elements to restore them," said Janet Murguia, President and CEO of UnidosUS. "The bottom line is that Latinos want immigration policies that are firm, fair and free of cruelty."

Because of this, the survey also sought to explore potential measures related specifically to asylum seekers at the border.

In this topic, the highest priority was partnering with other countries to expand opportunities for asylum seekers to look for protection elsewhere (53%), followed by making it easier for newly arrived asylum seekers to obtain work permits (48%), allowing asylum seekers to apply for U.S. asylum from other countries (47%) and increasing funding to speed up the processing time for asylum claims (43%).

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.