The Economist shared some poll numbers regarding Arizona's new immigration law last week along with a bit of analysis:
In the 1990s a similar backlash occurred in response to a Californian law, Proposition 187, approved by ballot in 1994 but blocked by the courts before it could go into effect. Supported by Pete Wilson, the Republican governor at the time, its objective was to keep illegal immigrants, most of whom were and are Hispanic, from using public services such as education and health care, and like the Arizona law, it required police to check up on suspects’ immigration status. Instead, 187 galvanised Latinos, who registered to vote in record numbers and changed the politics of California permanently. Even Republicans now fear alienating them.
But the question remains: Will Arizona Latinos start voting?
• In this week's paper we say the backlash has begun (amongst Latinos) against the Arizona immigration law. But 58% of Americans approve of the law, while only 28% disapprove. And 57% of those who don't live in Arizona want their own state to pass such a law. Dios mio!
• At least most supporters aren't kidding themselves—71% of Americans believe it is likely that Hispanic citizens will be questioned by police because of the new law.
• Here's an interesting fact: 29% of Hispanics approve of the Arizona law. Just over half (51%) strongly disapprove of it.
• It's difficult to secure the border in piecemeal fashion, yet nearly half (48%) of the public thinks
states should be permitted to set their own immigration policies, while 34% would leave it to the federal government.
• Nearly three out of four Republicans would let individual states set immigration policy; a majority of Democrats would not. I wonder if these numbers would hold up if, say, Arizona's law granted all illegal immigrants amnesty in the eyes of the state.