AUSTIN, Texas — As tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) have surged across Texas’ border with Mexico and amid concerns about ongoing violence from drug and human trafficking by cartels, immigration is all but guaranteed to be an important topic for the 2014 midterm elections. Many liberal groups and media commentators have assumed that immigration is a losing topic for conservatives, especially among Hispanic voters, but recent polling data flips that assumption on its head.
As Breitbart Texas has previously reported, the growth in Texas’ Hispanic population has not substantially changed the state’s voting patterns. Hispanic Texans tend to be more conservative than Hispanics in other states, as shown by Wendy Davis’ poor performance in the Rio Grande Valley during the Democratic gubernatorial primary election earlier this year, attributed to a disconnect between her abortion advocacy and the pro-life Catholic beliefs of many Hispanic South Texans. Moreover, polls show a trend for subsequent generations of Hispanic Americans to identify as more conservative than first generation immigrants.
On the specific issue of immigration, however, several recent polls have shown that Hispanics across the board favor tougher immigration policies than the media often portrays. According to a press release from the LIBRE Initiative:
“Although it is not always recognized, polls show that Latinos – like other Americans – strongly support improved enforcement of Immigration laws and enhanced border security. According to a survey by Pew, nearly 70 percent of Latinos supported increased enforcement of Immigration laws even before the increased attention to border issues this year. A survey by FWD.us puts the number even higher – with 78 percent supportive of stronger border security, and comparable levels of support for a visa tracking system and e-verify. Most recently, Pew’s survey on Immigration this month shows enforcement remains a top goal – with 15 percent of Hispanics rating better border security as the top priority on Immigration, and an additional 42 percent regarding both it and a path to citizenship as equal priorities.”
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, Rachel Campos-Duffy, The LIBRE Initiative’s National Spokesperson and wife of Republican Congressman Sean Duffy, remarked that Hispanics “care about border security and reforming [an immigration] system that hasn’t been reformed in forty-five years — the status quo isn’t acceptable for any Americans, especially as conservatives.”
“The idea that we’re for open borders is not true,” Campos-Duffy continued, saying that the problem was that “people with agendas about immigration want to perpetuate the myth that this is all we care about.” In fact, as she explained, polling consistently shows that the most important issues to Hispanics are education, the economy and jobs, and health care, similar to other Americans. “The idea of making Hispanic Americans seem like ‘others’ is a tactic of both extremes of the political spectrum,” she said. “We are Americans. We care about the same things all Americans care about — especially the safety and security of our homeland. Wanting our immigration system reformed and [also] a safe homeland are not incompatible goals. Sensible people in both parties want these things.”
Campos-Duffy placed a significant amount of blame for the animosity and unproductive nature of the immigration debate with the White House, commenting that President Barack Obama’s determination to go it alone on this issue is serving only to “poison the water and stop consensus from forming” among the many people who agree the system is broken. “This debate [about immigration] needs to happen in the People’s House, in Congress, not in the White House,” she said, adding that Obama’s threats to unilaterally enact reform by executive action “will only drive people away” from any “common sense” solutions. “Perhaps that is his goal,” she pondered, adding that Obama’s divisive rhetoric and broken promises of positive immigration reform were likely factors in the president’s plummeting support among Hispanic voters, with his approval rating falling by 23 points since January.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter at @rumpfshaker.