Border Wall
View of Tecate, Mexico, from the American side of the border. Bulla

A majority of Latinos in the U.S. support measures aimed at helping migrants who reach the country stay in it. However, on the other hand, there's an increasing amount who are backing a crackdown, according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll focused on the demographic.

Figures show that almost two thirds of Latinos (65%) said they favor providing a path to U.S. citizenship for all people currently living in the country illegally, while 59% backed allowing the possibility of claiming asylum to refugees fleeing crime and violence in Latin America.

But while these levels are roughly unchanged since December 2021, the amount of respondents who supported harsher measures did increase significantly. 42% said they'd back building a wall or fence across the entire U.S.-Mexico border and 38% that they favor sending all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. back to their country of origin.

The former premise had received 30% of all support in December, the latter getting 28%. This represents an increase of 12 and 10 percentage points, respectively, in a year and a half.

These answers are consistent with figures showing an increased with immigration from the entire electorate, Latinos included. 64% of respondents said they support giving the president authority to shut down the border if there are too many migrants trying to enter the country, while 62% said that improving border security is important for the government to prioritize. 70% said the same thing for reforming the immigration system.

Moreover, "around one in four say that improving border security (24%) or reforming the immigration system (26%) should be the most important priority for the government," the poll's findings added.

In this context, Axios reported that the Biden administration is still considering a series of executive actions to stem the flow of people unlawfully entering the country.

Biden and Trump
Donald Trump and Joe Biden AFP

Some analysts had considered the possibility that Biden could make such announcements at this month's State of the Union address, although that did not end up happening. However, the outlet cited administration officials saying that didn't mean the measures were no longer in consideration, and that they could be implemented this year.

Among the measures considered: a sweeping presidential authority that allows him to "suspend the entry" of foreigners when it is determined that their arrival is not in the best interest of the country; and the ability to turn asylum seekers away if they cross illegally. Making it harder for asylum-seekers to pass the first interview to determine whether they can stay in the country is also under review.

But the other side of the coin regarding the increased concern with illegal immigration is the possibility that Latinos are targeted regardless of their status, especially if mass deportations begin, like former President Donald Trump has promised should he win the 2024 elections.

"Half of respondents (52%) say they agree that they worry that if the government starts mass deportations of undocumented immigrants, they will target all Latinos, including native and legal residents, not only the undocumented. These levels are highest among respondents who speak only Spanish (59%) as well as first generation respondents (57%)," the survey showed.

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