Apr 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive poll: Latino support for border wall, deportations jumps

The US-Mexico border wall in Campo, California, on April 4, 2024.

The US-Mexico border wall in Campo, Calif., on April 4. Photo: Mark Abramson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The percentage of Latinos who say they support building a border wall and deporting all undocumented immigrants has jumped by at least 10 points since 2021, according to the latest Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo.

Why it matters: The findings suggest former President Trump's calls for more border security — and perhaps his anti-immigrant rhetoric — are registering even among people who may have ties to immigration.

  • The findings also reflect the frustration that has made illegal immigration a top election-year issue for many Americans, and shed light on Republicans' recent inroads among Latinos.
  • The poll arrives as Trump's racist criticisms of immigrants are raising concerns about violence during the 2024 campaign.

The big picture: Trump has promised to step up border security if he returns to the White House, and plans mass deportations that he says could involve 1 million people.

By the numbers: 42% of Latino adults surveyed said they support building a wall or fence along the entire U.S.–Mexico border. That's a 12-point jump from December 2021.

  • 38% support sending all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. back to their country of origin — up from 28% in 2021.
  • In addition, 64% of Latinos said they support giving the president the authority to shut U.S. borders if there are too many immigrants trying to enter the country. It was the first time the survey asked this question.

Zoom in: Support for building a wall was strongest among Cuban Americans (58%), who generally are more conservative than many other Latinos and have benefited from decades of Cold War-era "special treatment" on immigration.

  • Support for the border wall is lowest among Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans (37%). Only 43% of Central Americans support the wall.

Immigration is the third-highest concern among Latinos in this election year, the poll found, behind inflation and crime.

  • Despite the rising number of Latinos who say anyone in the U.S. illegally should be deported, a strong majority (65%) still favor providing them with a path to U.S. citizenship rather than deporting them.
  • 59% support allowing refugees fleeing crime and violence in Latin America to claim asylum in the U.S.

What they're saying: The poll "illustrates that some immigration hardline positions (are) incrementally more popular" among Latinos, Ipsos pollster and senior vice president Chris Jackson tells Axios.

Between the lines: A recent study published in the European Political Science Review suggests Latino support for Trump is not growing in spite of his anti-immigrant rhetoric — but because of it.

  • An analysis of election results from 2016 and 2020 showed Trump support among Latinos getting stronger in Arizona, Florida and some New Mexico counties, the study's co-author, Udi Sommer, tells Axios.
  • Using data from the 2020 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) and the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape survey, the authors found that anti-immigrant sentiment is rising among Latinos, based on survey questions about immigrants and voting patterns.

Methodology: This Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll, in partnership with Noticias Telemundo, was conducted March 22-28 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,012 Hispanic/Latino adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample.

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