The vitriolic illegal immigration debate of the last few years has left Latinos feeling hurt and angry, according to a recent poll of both citizen and non-citizen Hispanics.
The finding isn’t too surprising. It’s what happens when one class of people becomes a scapegoat for a nation.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, which polled 2,015 Hispanic adults this past summer and released the results in September:
• Half of those surveyed said the situation for Hispanics is worse than it was a year earlier. Only 13 percent said it was better (the remainder said it was the same).
• Eight percent of native-born U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent said they had been stopped by authorities and questioned about their immigration status.
• One in 7 Hispanics said they had trouble finding or keeping a job because of their ethnicity. One in 10 reported that their ethnicity made it difficult to find or keep housing.
• More than two-thirds of those polled said they worry that they or someone close to them may be deported.
Angela Kelley, director of the Immigration Policy Center in Washington, D.C., said the results reflect “the sad story of our times, where the understandable frustration about the breakdown in immigration policy has really spilled out and over into our communities.”
You can’t tell by looking at someone whether they are an immigrant or native-born. Unfortunately, that reality has put the entire Hispanic population, numbering about 46 million nationwide, “in the cross hairs of ugly vitriol,” Kelley said.