Fair, Firm, and Free of Cruelty

Poll of Latino Voters on Immigration Shows their Approach to the Situation at the Southern Border

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, released findings from a national poll of Latino voters on immigration and the situation at the southern border, providing timely insights into the perspectives and priorities of this electorate on the heels of Congressional debate and recent immigration executive actions by the Biden Administration.

  • This memo and slide deck provide the findings of UnidosUS’s 2024 survey on Latino voter views about immigration and migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UnidosUS said, “Our new poll is the first in-depth survey to examine how Latino voters actually feel about one of the most prominent and contentious issues in this election: immigration. Like other Americans, Hispanic voters are frustrated by the situation at the border and are more likely than ever to support increased border security measures. But the overwhelming concern and priority of these voters continues to be relief for undocumented people with long-standing roots in this country. This poll reflects that securing the border and helping immigrants are not incompatible for Latino voters—rather, they are both elements to restore order. The bottom line is that Latinos want immigration policies that are firm, fair and free of cruelty.”

Key findings:

While economic concerns continue to top the list of priorities for Hispanic voters, immigration has moved up on that list, with half of Latino voters stating the issue will have a big impact on their vote for President and Congress.

When thinking about the U.S. immigration system overall, Hispanic voters’ top priorities are:

  • Providing a path to citizenship for people with long-term undocumented status (53%) and DACA recipients (42%).
  • Cracking down on human smugglers (29%), increasing border security (28%) and increasing legal immigration (27%) form a second tier of priorities.
  • Finishing the border wall (15%) and deporting all undocumented immigrants (15%) are among the lowest priorities.

Latino/a voters are more frustrated by the lack of support for long-term immigrants (39%) than by the situation at the border (26%); 21% say both, 9% say neither.

That said, more than three quarters of Hispanic voters (76%) are concerned about the situation at the U.S./Mexico border, nearly half (46%) are very concerned.

They remain broadly sympathetic to immigrants arriving at the U.S./Mexico border (23% very sympathetic/62% sympathetic); 22% are not sympathetic.

On specific priorities for addressing the situation at the southern border, Hispanic voters identified the following as high priorities:

  • Latino voters overwhelmingly prioritize cracking down on human traffickers and drug smugglers (82%) and notably, providing a path to citizenship for long-term undocumented immigrants (62%).
  • The next tier of priorities includes expanding funding for additional border patrol and security (58%) and partnering with other countries to limit illegal immigration to the U.S. (53%).
  • Finishing the border wall, closing the border and rapidly deporting those who cross illegally were among the lowest priorities, but 38% and 39% respectively were open to those initiatives

Of measures related specifically to asylum seekers at the border,

  • The highest priority is partnering with other countries to expand opportunities for asylum seekers to seek 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%), expand legal pathways for people seeking safety in the US (47%) and increasing funding to speed up the processing time for asylum claims (43%).
  • 47% see providing more resources and support to US communities receiving immigrants as a high priority.

On the politics of the debate,

  • Four in ten (41%) Latino voters say they hear more from Republicans about immigration; 27% say they hear more from President Biden and Democrats.
  • Nearly eight in ten Latino/a voters (78%) say that the candidates’ positions on immigration will have an impact on their vote for President in November, with nearly half (49%) of voters saying it will have a big impact.
  • Latino/a voters prefer Democrats (38%) to Republicans (31%) on immigration by a narrow margin, while nearly one quarter (23%) say neither party is better.

“These new findings provide a much deeper understanding of Latino voters’ priorities than we have seen in other polls, including a clear focus on economic issues, as well as a strong desire for action on immigration policy. Their priorities include a path to citizenship for undocumented long-term residents and Dreamers, increasing legal immigration through family and employment-based visas and increasing border security. They are looking for action and results, not political posturing on immigration issues,” said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners.

Brian Nienaber, Vice President of The Tarrance Group also stated, “This survey finds that Hispanic GOP voters hold views similar to those of their GOP counterparts of other races on the issue of immigration, including a strong interest in Congressional action on immigration as well as support for more restrictive immigration policies like increased border security and higher levels of deportation. In addition, these Hispanic GOP voters are focused on immigration as an issue to drive their vote decisions.”

About the survey

  • The survey was conducted by Lake Research Partners and The Tarrance Group.
  • N=800 registered Latino voters
  • Oversamples: N=250 registered voters each in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
  • Margin of error: +/-3.5% for full sample; greater for subgroups.
  • Field dates: May 13-22, 2024
  • Interviews were conducted in English & Spanish
  • Mixed mode: live telephone & text to online interview
  • Data were weighted slightly by gender, age, education level, region, Hispanic background, and partisanship score to reflect the demographic composition of registered Latino voters nationwide.