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Immigration and the 2012 election

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Immigration in 2012 election Source CIRCLEImmigration reform is quickly becoming an in-the-news issue, as we noted earlier this week with Peter Skerry’s suggestions for what reform might look like. The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) has just joined the conversation, releasing a new fact sheet that uses post-election youth polling to examine young people’s views of immigration. The survey found that only a relatively small portion—7.8%—of young Americans ages 18-24 rated immigration as their top issue in the 2012 election. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those that did, however, overwhelmingly favored liberalizing immigration laws.

Other interesting findings from the survey include:

  • A much higher proportion (16.8%) of young adults from recent immigrant backgrounds chose immigration as their top issue. (For youth who are not immigrants and do not have a parent who is the rate was just 5.7%.)
  • Among the immigrants of Latino background, 29.0% said that immigration reform was the most important issue—close behind unemployment (31.4%)—underscoring how important this topic is to Latino youth.
  • As might be expected, first and second generation youth favored liberalization. Among those who chose immigration as their top issue, 85.5% supported policy creating a path to citizenship.
  • Of young adults with at least one parent born in another country, more than half—56%—voted in the 2012 election, with 76% supporting President Obama.

Read the whole report here.