Latinos and Asian-Americans believe that it is more important for undocumented immigrants to receive deportation relief than for them to receive citizenship, according to a new poll released by the Pew Hispanic Center on Thursday.
Eighty-nine percent of Latinos and 72 percent of Asian-Americans strongly support providing citizenship for undocumented immigrants. But, when asked what legalization component was more important, at least 55 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of Asian Americans emphasized the ability to legally work without the threat of deportation more than being on a pathway to citizenship if immigrants meet certain requirements. Of those surveyed, 59 percent of Latinos immigrants worry that either they or someone they love may be deported, while 49 percent of all Latinos expressed the same concern. Meanwhile, only 18 percent of Asian-American immigrants and 16 percent of all Asian Americans similarly worry about deportation.
The findings are in line with a survey out earlier this year which found that only 44 percent of legal Latino immigrant respondents have become citizens, with only 36 percent of Mexicans having gone through the naturalization process. When asked why they hadn’t naturalized, immigrants pointed to personal barriers such as a lack of English proficiency and the $680 fee to apply for naturalization. Since the median household income for immigrants is $43,892, the application fee would roughly equate 74 percent of a week’s salary.
The study authors believe that the findings could help pave the way for a “legislative compromise,” although granting citizenship using something like the Senate immigration bill (which was incorporated into the House Democrats’ immigration bill), would not only boost GDP, increase wages at all skill levels, but also reduce federal debt.