Florida’s Latino voters view immigration as one of the top issues for Congress and the President, according to a recent poll.
When asked an open-ended question by Latino Decisions on what the most important issues that Congress and President should address, Florida Latino voters said the economy/jobs were the top issue at 47 percent, followed by immigration at 24 percent.
Terrorism, health care and education rounded out the top five issues Congress and the President should address.
When respondents were asked about the most important issues facing the Latino community that Congress and the President should address, Florida Latino immigrants said immigration was their top concern at 34 percent. The economy ranked second at 33 percent.
Florida has long been one of the most active places in the country for immigrants due to its proximity to the Caribbean and Central America. A 2013 survey found nearly four million of Florida’s residents were born abroad, or about one in every five people.
Florida has one of the highest percentages of Latinos in the country, with Latinos accounting for over 23 percent of the state population.
Those numbers mean a big impact from local and federal immigration policies, which are dictated by Congress and the president.
Florida’s Latino community has strong ties and personal connections to the immigration debate -- according to the survey, 39 percent of respondents said they know someone who is undocumented while a quarter know someone who has faced deportation or detention for immigration reasons.
Another 20 percent know someone who has applied for President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which would allow children who entered the country before their 16th birthday to receive a two-year work permit as well as an exemption from deportation.
That program, in conjunction with the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), would protect over 4 million immigrants from deportation.
Those policies could affect a significant number of immigrants living in the Sunshine State. Approximately 229,000 Florida immigrants would be eligible for deportation deferral, work permits, and state driver’s licenses under the immigration programs, which are at the center of controversy and a national lawsuit which has gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The national survey of 2,200 Latino registered voters consisted of 400 Florida Latinos and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.