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Do undocumented immigrants identify with a political party in the US?

Posted by Matthew Green | Jun 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

When discussing immigration reform, it is inevitable that Congress will get brought into the conversation. And with that, so will the Republican and Democratic Parties. Immigration reform will affect undocumented immigrants, that is a given. So, bringing this full circle, do undocumented immigrants identify with one, specific political party in the United States?

A recent article posted on The New York Times website takes this into consideration. According to the story, only around one-half of young, undocumented immigrants who grew up in the U.S. identify themselves with the Democratic Party. The other half consider themselves to be independents or have a type of nonparty affiliation. This New York Times article is based on a published study that can be found here.

The study's findings contrast the popular idea that most DREAMers align themselves with Democrats. Rather, it seems that these young immigrants are waiting until Congress makes a decision on immigration reform before identifying themselves with one party or another.

The study also found that although many young immigrants do not identify with a certain political party in the U.S., there are some that feel closer to one party than the other. The report shows that right around 40% “felt closer to the Democratic Party based on its positions on immigration.” Meanwhile, only 5% said they felt closer the Republican Party and its views. Lastly, another 40% said that they could not support the Democratic Party “as long as immigration reform is not passed.”

This study is unique because it is based on one of the largest surveys conducted of young, undocumented immigrants. This group is typically considered to be hard to survey because of their immigration status. The data from this recent survey is based on responses from 1,472 immigrants polled towards the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. It was commissioned by Unbound Philanthropy, a foundation that funds refugee and immigrant rights groups, and United We Dream, an advocacy group. The study was administered on the Internet and utilized Facebook advertisements to illicit responses. Those presenting the evidence caution that the data is based a sampling procedure that involved inherent limitations.

Even with all this information from the survey, the question remains as to whether this impacts Congress. Those polled are undocumented, and therefore cannot vote. However, they will have influence over Latinos who do vote. In addition, many of these young immigrants are politically active - 40% of those surveyed stated that they attended a rally or demonstration. This is quite different from the results of a 2012 poll that showed only 6% of those surveyed attending a rally or demonstration.

Of those surveyed, many were planning on renewing their deportation referrals in the near future. In fact, about 90% of those who participated in the survey had received deferrals and said that their finances were improved because of it. Just about 75% of those who were polled said that they had gotten their first job or even a better job after receiving deferrals.

About the Author

Matthew Green

Managing Partner. Green | Evans-Schroeder (formerly Law Offices of Matthew H. Green) focuses on the aggressive defense of immigrants. A native of Arizona, Mr. Green understands the difficulties that immigrants and families of immigrants face when a loved one is charged with a crime. He knows how frightening it can be for some...


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