There is growing pressure on the Obama Administration to preside over immigration enforcement reforms and to deliver affirmative relief to those who would qualify for legalization under the Senate’s immigration bill. While the White House is engaged in a sustained effort to dispute and muddy some of the recent statistical looks at their enforcement record, two key data points are beyond dispute.
The Obama Administration has presided over two million deportations and the vast majority of these two million are not criminals.
The painful impact these deportations have on the ground is beginning to play out in another set of numbers. Polling of Latino voters conducted by Latino Decisions has captured what story after story brings home – the personal connection between Latinos and the immigration debate, including the excesses of immigration enforcement on display in recent years.
Polling of Latino voters conducted by Latino Decisions in 2013 found that four-in-ten of these voters nationwide reported personally knowing someone who has faced deportation proceedings due to immigration – an increase of 14 points over 2011, when the pollsters asked the same question (a jump from 25% in 2011 to 39% in 2013). Additional 2013 polling from Latino Decisions found that 64% of Latino voters across the country said they personally know someone who was an undocumented immigrant (defined as either a member of their family or a close personal friend). Gary Segura of Latino Decisions wrote, “beyond mere ideology, Latino Americans are personally and directly connected to the people at the heart of the political and policy fight.”
The immigration enforcement toll is resounding politically. Latino voters’ approval of President Obama has declined, with Pew Research noting on March 27th, “Obama’s job approval rating has slipped 15 points among Hispanics. About half of Hispanics (48%) approve of Obama’s job performance today, down from 63% in September 2013.” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, recently warned that Latino voter enthusiasm could be an issue, saying “Lack of progress on immigration is hurting our chances of getting these voters out to vote.”
According to Patty Kupfer, Managing Director of America’s Voice:
Immigrant families and communities are feeling what the statistics show – most of those caught up in our deportation crisis have roots and lives in this country. It’s of little wonder that many Latino voters are disillusioned with the political process. Republicans are refusing to deliver a lasting legislative solution and President Obama has presided over record numbers of deportations. It’s time for reform and for politicians to deliver on their promises.