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PA Latino Voters Speak Out On Immigration, Border Issues

UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, released poll findings from Latino voters in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Nevada and their views on immigration and the situation at the southern border. The findings provide valuable insights into the perspectives and priorities of Latino voters in these critical states and how immigration may be shaping their vote.

Latino/a voters in Pennsylvania in the survey prefer President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump on immigration by seven points (39-32%) – a difference that is smaller than Nevada’s 19-point separation. Arizona flipped the script, favoring Trump by three points on immigration (38-35%).

Latino registered voters in the Commonwealth are 48 percent Democrat, 24 percent Republican, 18% independent, while five percent are registered with other parties. Three in 10 are college graduates or have post-graduate degrees, while 29 percent attended or completed high school. Nearly half (45%) are of Puerto Rican descent, while 1-in 5 are Mexican (20%) in origin.

Over three quarters of Latino swing voters say that candidates’ positions on immigration will have an impact on their vote for President and Congress in November. Pennsylvania voters are particularly likely to say immigration will impact their Congressional vote.

“Fair, firm and free of cruelty – that is the message from Hispanic voters on immigration and the situation at the southern border,” said Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Latino Vote Initiative Vice President, UnidosUS. “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, conducted by Lake Research Partners and The Tarrance Group, revealed that while economic concerns such as inflation and the cost of living continue to be the highest priorities for Latino voters, immigration is rising. Where immigration is concerned, 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.

In the Keystone State, respondents said that immigration and the border (10%) ranks below economic issues (22%) such as inflation or cost of living and crime and gun violence (11%) as their top issue.

When queried about their top three priorities on immigration, those surveyed said providing a path to citizenship to long-residing undocumented individuals (48%) and Dreamers (35%) ranked first, while cracking down on human smugglers (35%) and increasing border security (34%) were right behind.

In regards to the border specifically, Pennsylvania Latino voters prioritized cracking down on human traffickers and drug smugglers (81%), providing a path to citizenship for the long-residing undocumented (51%) and expanding funding for border security (41%).

Finally, more than 2-in-5 respondents said their top priority on asylum is partnering with other countries to help asylum seekers find protection elsewhere (43%).

“As in our national data, these poll findings in three critical swing states show the importance of economic issues to Latino/a voters, as well as a strong desire for action on immigration policy,” said David Mermin, Partner at Lake Research Partners. “Latinos in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania want to see a path to citizenship for undocumented long-term residents and Dreamers, increased legal immigration through family and employment-based visas and border security. And they will be paying close attention to these issues when they vote in November.”

Brian Nienaber, Vice President of The Tarrance Group 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.”

UnidosUS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves as the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization.

The survey was conducted in the field between May 13-22 with 800 registered Latino voters with oversamples of 250 registered voters each in PA, AZ and NV. The margin of error is +/-3.5% for the full sample; greater for subgroups.

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