9/14: Issues 2016: Immigration Reform and Race Relations

Immigration reform and race relations continue to be hot-button issues in the headlines and for the 2016 presidential campaign.  When it comes to U.S. immigration policy, many Americans, including more than eight in ten Latinos, think that birthright should remain in place so that children born in this country receive U.S. citizenship, regardless of whether or not their parents are undocumented immigrants.  Americans divide about whether or not the term “anchor baby” is offensive.  And, a plurality of residents say undocumented immigrants should be deported which would eliminate the need for so-called “sanctuary cities.”  Not surprisingly, a majority of Latinos consider the description “anchor baby” to be insulting, and about two-thirds support maintaining “sanctuary cities.”

On the issue of police-community relations, nearly two-thirds of Americans say minorities are treated the same as anyone else.  However, one in four U.S. residents, including 31% of Latinos, believe authorities treat minorities more harshly.

What do Americans and Latinos think of the Black Lives Matter movement?  When compared with another movement in the United States, the Tea Party, more Americans view “Black Lives Matter” positively.  37% of Americans have a positive impression of “Black Lives Matter” compared with one in four Americans who says the Tea Party conjures up positive feelings for them.

Complete September 14, 2015 MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist Poll of the United States 

U.S. Immigration Policy

Poll points:

  • More than six in ten adults nationally, 62%, report birthright should be continued in the United States.  31% disagree and say the U.S. Constitution should be amended so that children of undocumented immigrants are not automatically granted citizenship.  Most Latinos, 83%, say birthright should be continued.
  • 48% of Americans deem the term “anchor baby” to be offensive while 44% say the phrase is an accurate description of a child born to a pregnant woman who illegally crosses the U.S.-Mexico border.  A majority of Latinos, 56%, believe the term is offensive.
  • 48% of residents nationally believe undocumented immigrants should be deported which would eliminate the need for “sanctuary cities.”  43%, though, think these cities are necessary to provide undocumented immigrants with services.  66% of Latinos report “sanctuary cities” should remain.


Police-Community Relations in the United States

Poll points:

  • 64% of Americans, including 58% of Latinos, say police in their communities treat minorities the same as anyone else.  25% of residents, including 31% of Latinos, think minorities are dealt with more forcefully.  Only 4% of Americans, including 6% of Latinos, report minorities are treated less harshly by authorities.
  • 37% of Americans, including 32% of Latinos, have a positive association with the Black Lives Matter movement.  25% of residents and 12% of Latinos have a negative association with it.  38% of Latinos are unfamiliar with “Black Lives Matter.”
  • 25% of Americans view the Tea Party positively.  19% of Latinos agree.  However, 36% of residents, overall, including 18% of Latinos, have a negative association with the Tea Party movement.  34% of Latinos are unaware of the Tea Party.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables