On the morning of June 15, the Supreme Court announced its decision on Arizona’s SB1070, the controversial immigration law that, among other things, requires state law enforcement officers to stop and question individuals they suspect of being in the country illegally.
While the court struck down most of the law, it upheld the stop-and-question provision, undoubtedly the most critical aspect of the law.
But what does the Supreme Court’s decision mean for Latinos?
Fortuitously enough, the Pew Hispanic Center released a same-day report showing that Latinos differ greatly with the American public when it comes to the Arizona immigration law.
In a mid-June survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 58 percent of Americans asked said they approve of the controversial law, while 38 percent said they disapprove.
In stark contrast, only 21 percent of Latinos said they approve of SB1070, while an overwhelming majority – 75 percent – said they disapprove.
When asked about approaches to immigration reform, 42 percent of the general public said equal priority should be given to tougher restrictions and providing a pathway to citizenship, while 28 percent said the sole focus should be on tougher restrictions and border security; 27 percent of Americans believe the priority should be placed on providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Again, Latinos distinctly disagreed with the general public. A slim majority – 53 percent – said providing a pathway to citizenship should be the focus of solving the country’s illegal immigration crisis; 35 percent of Latinos said equal attention should be given to providing a pathway to citizenship and toughening restrictions, while only 10 percent favored making tougher restrictions and border security the sole priority of immigration reform.
According to a 2010 Pew Hispanic Center study, 77 percent of Latinos feel immigration enforcement should be the sole charge of federal agents, while a small minority – 15 percent – said local law enforcement officers should play an active role.
Such research shows that while immigration may not be the most important issue for Latinos during an election year, immigration reform still represents a defining goal of the Latino community — one that sets Latinos apart from the rest of America.