Social Issues, Si! Drivers’ Licenses, No!

The Pew Hispanic Center released survey data today, the main point of which was to compare attitudes of native-born and foreign-born Hispanics. (Maybe I just missed it, but I couldn’t find any indication of whether foreign-born respondents were asked whether they were citizens.) You can read the report for yourself–it’s downloadable in PDF at the above site–but a few conclusions jumped out at me.
First, immigration is by no means at the top of Hispanics’ stated concerns. When asked whether various issues are “important,” education, the economy, health care, social security, moral values and crime all outranked immigration. Of course, 79% of respondents did consider immigration an important issue (32% extremely important). But if you believe these responses, there isn’t any need for the Republicans to pander to Hispanics on immigration in order to compete for their votes.
Second, many Hispanics living in the U.S. are cool to the idea of giving drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants. Native-born Hispanics approve of laws denying drivers’ licenses to illegals by a 60% to 36% margin. Among the foreign-born, the result flips, with 41% approving of such restrictions and 55% disapproving. Which raises, once again, the question of how many of these respondents are citizens and therefore potential voters. Still, the conclusion would seem to be that it isn’t necessary to pander, given that, according to Pew, 79% of registered Hispanic voters are native-born.
Third, Pew also surveyed Mexicans on various subjects. This one astonishes me: when asked, “If at this moment, you had the means and opportunity to go to live in the United States, would you go?


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