Latino voters overwhelmingly support President Barack Obamas executive actions on immigration that provide relief from deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants, according to a new poll released Monday.
The poll conducted by Latino Decisions found that a whopping 89 percent of the 405 Latino voters surveyed said they back the presidents decision to take executive action on immigration last week. Only 10 percent said they oppose it.
The poll results show thats an even higher level of support than what Latino voters showed for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Obama announced in 2012. The federal program, which received support from 84 percent of Latinos, grants deportation reprieve and work permits to undocumented youth.
Even Latino Republicans back Obama’s executive actions
Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions, unveiled the poll findings in a conference call with reporters on Monday.
He noted that support for Obamas executive actions also exists among Latinos who identify as Republicans, as 76 percent of them said they support the presidents move on immigration. Meanwhile, 95 percent of Latino Democrats expressed support for Obamas executive actions on immigration, as did 81 percent of Latino independents.
This is not a partisan issue for Latinos, Barreto said about Obamas move on immigration. It is one that clearly crosses party lines.
As Republicans in Congress work to try to derail Obamas executive actions on immigration, the poll found that the vast majority of Latinos are against those efforts. According to the poll, 80 percent of Latinos oppose Republicans in Congress taking steps to stop Obama from taking executive action on immigration. Only 18 percent said they support these efforts by Republicans.
The presidents executive actions are set to protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and grant them work permits. Among those who will benefit are parents who have been living in the country for at least five years and have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
However, there are millions who wont qualify for those protections and will still be at risk for deportation. That is why immigration advocates are pushing for Congress to pass an immigration reform bill. But if Congress doesnt pass a bill, the majority of Latinos surveyed for the Latino Decisions poll said they want Obama to go even farther on executive action.
An estimated 73 percent said Obama should take additional executive actions to protect the remaining undocumented immigrants who wont benefit from the presidents executive actions. Meanwhile, 21 said Obama should not act and 6 percent said they didnt know.
This poll sends a powerful message to Congress from Latino voters that basically says: legislate humane reform for all 11 million undocumented immigrants or we will continue to fight for more executive actions that finish the job, Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente.org, said in the conference call with reporters.
Democrats stand by Obama’s actions on immigration
In another conference call with reporters, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California indicated they and other Democrats had called on Obama to go further than he did last week when he announced his executive actions.
They said that even though many undocumented immigrants wont qualify for relief under the presidents executive actions, including many parents of Dreamers, they are happy with the actions the president took.
I think he made the right decision, and Im going to stand by him, Gutierrez said. Im not going to second guess the president on this issue.
Menendez said he also stood by the presidents executive actions on immigration. He said that moving forward, it will be important that those who are eligible for relief through the presidents executive actions come forward and apply as soon as theyre able to do so.
I think it will be critically important as we move forward to show that people are willing to come out of the shadows, are willing to go through a criminal background check, are willing to pay their taxes and want to be part of the American society in full, Menendez said. When they do thatand do it successfullyand the sky hasnt fallen, then all the naysayers will be proven once again wrong.
Meanwhile, Lofgren vowed to continue defending Obamas executive actions on immigration against Republicans who question the legality of his actions. She also pointed to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as examples of former presidents who issued their own executive actions on immigration.
I think its really disappointing to hear some of the shrill voices on the other side of the aisle once again trying to denigrate our president and to attack him for things that other presidents have done over the years, Lofgren said.