Crossing the Border: Latino Attitudes Toward Immigration Policy

Research paper by Amy Stringer

Indexed on: 14 Mar '18Published on: 13 Mar '18Published in: Journal of International Migration and Integration


In the midst of the ongoing and highly polarized immigration debate, it seems that little attention has been paid to how Latinos view efforts to address the issues of undocumented immigrants residing in the United States and enhanced enforcement efforts along the U.S.–Mexico border. Consequently, questions arise as to the degree of support for or rejection of such measures within the Latino community and among the various segments of that community. Do U.S.-born Latinos, foreign-born naturalized citizens, and undocumented immigrants from various parts of Latin America have similar or divergent views on these issues? It is generally assumed that ethnicity is an important factor in influencing attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policies. Some studies have found that foreign-born Latinos have more positive attitudes toward immigration than native-born Latinos due in part to their shared immigration experience. There are, however, other studies demonstrating that Latino immigrants have often expressed support for more restrictive immigration policies. It may hold true, in fact, that many Latinos have ambiguous and conflicting attitudes about these issues. This article will try to shed some light on Latinos’ attitudes regarding specific policy measures by analyzing data from the Pew Hispanic Center National Survey of Latinos, which allows for considerable differentiation among various sectors of the Latino population.