With less than three weeks to go before the midterm elections, immigration remains one of the most important issues for Latino voters; although opinions on legal and illegal immigration vary widely.
“I think they have been misunderstood,” said Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has studied Latino voter preferences for decades.
While many Latino voters support the idea of a “more humane treatment” of immigrants and creating a path to citizenship for the undocumented, Teixeira said there are many in the community who are “not really interested or thrilled with the idea that people can just cross the border… They also think we need more border security.”
While polls show most Hispanics siding with Democrats on immigration, the GOP has made significant gains of late, even as it ramps up its anti-immigrant rhetoric popularized by former President Donald Trump.
About 55% of Latinos support Democrats on the issue of legal immigration, according to a recent NYT/Siena College poll, which also indicated that roughly one-third support a border wall along the southern border.
With candidates vying to capture every last vote, Latinos, who make up more than 30 million of the country’s registered voters, could tip the balance in major battleground-state races.
“There is a vulnerability there. This issue is a weak point for Democrats, even among Hispanic voters,” Teixera said.