According to the poll by Latino Decisions, an opinion research group, 85 percent of Latino undocumented immigrants say they have at least one family member who is a U.S. citizen. And 87 percent say they would apply for U.S. citizenship if given the opportunity.
The poll was conducted for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. The organization calls for comprehensive immigration reform.
Max Sevillia is with that group.
“The ultimate conclusion that we got from these findings is that the undocumented immigrant is already an integral part of American society in that their relationships that they have with family members and other relatives who are already U.S. citizens and in hopes and aspirations that they have to be fully integrated into the fabric of our nation.”
He says the study complements findings of earlier surveys and confirms what NALEO has already suspected.
Professor Guadalupe San Miguel specializes in Mexican-American history at the University of Houston. He says the fact that the majority of immigrants from Mexico have family in the U.S. has been what’s differentiated them from other immigrant groups.
What the new poll shows, he says, is a change in undocumented Latino immigrants’ attitude toward U.S. citizenship.
“And I think it just shows the impact of the enforcement of the border because it’s very difficult now to go back to Mexico and visit family members.”
He says even documented immigrants and visa holders from Mexico fear harassment from border security agents, which might explain the large number of those who want to become U.S. citizens.