Jun 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive poll: Majority of Latinos support Trump-era COVID border policy

Immigration rights activists protest Title 42
Immigration rights activists protest Title 42. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

A majority of Latinos say they support a Trump-era policy that cites concerns about the pandemic to rapidly turn away migrants at the border, according to a new Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo has found.

Why it matters: It's a fresh data point reflecting the complex views Latino voters have on immigration. Earlier on Thursday, a Supreme Court ruling allowed President Biden to end "Remain in Mexico" — another Trump-era border policy that has been criticized by immigration activists.

The big picture: Courts have forced the Biden administration to continuing using Title 42, which cites concerns about the spread of COVID-19 spread,

  • Title 42 is used far more frequently than "Remain in Mexico" — formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols — and does not come with a guarantee of an asylum process.
  • "As long as Title 42 is in place there will continue to be devastating harm to asylum seekers.  Unfortunately, the administration is clearly in no hurry to end Title 42," ACLU's Lee Gelernt told Axios.

By the numbers: 51% of the 1,018 U.S. Latino adults surveyed said they strongly supported or somewhat supported keeping Title 42 in place, compared to 44% who said they opposed it.

  • The policy has majority support among Mexican Americans (52%), Puerto Ricans (57%), and Cuban Americans (53%).
  • Only 41% of Central Americans supported Title 42. The policy primarily affects Central American migrants seeking entry into the U.S.
  • Just 48% of Latino immigrants endorsed the policy, but support for it went up among second-generation (58%) and third-generation (59%) Latinos.

The intrigue: 81% of Latino Republicans supported the policy, compared to 42% of Latino Democrats and 57% of Latino independents.

What they're saying: "I think because it's a COVID mitigation thing, we do see sort of higher support for it, then if it were just sort of a pure immigration concern," Ipsos pollster and senior vice president Chris Jackson told Axios.

  • Still, Jackson said he was surprised that more than half of the Latinos surveyed supported Title 42.

Yes, but: Only 1 out of 5 Latinos listed immigration as their top concern.

  • Immigration ranked well behind crime, gun violence and inflation as their top issues.

Flashback: The CDC's Title 42 order was first issued in March 2020 under former President Trump, and has forced tens of thousands of asylum-seekers to wait out lengthy U.S. immigration court processes in Mexico.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Latino Poll, in partnership with Noticias Telemundo, was conducted June 9-18 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,018 Hispanic/Latino adults age 18 or older.

The margin of sampling error is ±3.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample.

Subscribe to Axios Latino and get more news that matters about Latinos and Latin America, delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Go deeper