February 23, 2017

Latinos and the New Trump Administration

5. State of Hispanics in the U.S. today

Hispanics are divided in their assessment of how they as a group are doing in the country today compared with a year ago. An increasing share of Hispanics say their standing in the U.S. has worsened since 2013, even as half say it is unchanged. Hispanics are also split in their concerns about deportation: About half (47%) say they worry “a lot” or “some” that they, a family member or close friend could be deported, a level of worry that is little changed from four years ago. Finally, the new survey finds Hispanics are relatively divided over their place in America after Donald Trump’s presidential election win. A significant share – 41% – says they have serious concerns about their place in America, but a majority says they are not concerned.

The situation of Latinos in the U.S. today

Latinos are divided in their views about the situation of their group today. Half (49%) say the situation of Hispanics is about the same as a year ago, while 16% say the situation has improved, according to the new survey. About a third (32%) of Latinos say their group’s situation in the U.S. is worse today than a year ago.

Views of how U.S. Latinos are faring have worsened over the past four years. In 2013, just 15% of Latinos said their community was worse off compared with the year before, while 25% said it had improved and 58% said it was about the same.

Pessimism over the status of U.S. Hispanics peaked around the onset of the Great Recession.7 In 2008, half (50%) of Hispanics said the situation of the community was worse than a year earlier, while just 13% said the situation of Hispanics was better and 35% said the situation of Hispanics was about the same.

In the new survey, 29% of U.S.-born Latinos say their situation as a group is worse today than a year ago, while 15% say it is better and 54% say it is about the same. By comparison, 36% of Latino immigrants who say the situation of the community is worse today than a year ago, while 17% say it is better and 44% say it is about the same.

Among Latino immigrants, 38% who are U.S. citizens say the situation of the Latino community is worse today than a year ago, while just 12% say it is better and 46% say it is about the same. By comparison, among Latino immigrants who are lawful permanent residents, a similar share say the situation of the community is worse than a year ago (26%) as say it is better (27%), while 45% say it is about the same. Among Latino immigrants who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents, 42% say the situation of U.S. Latinos is worse than a year ago, 15% say the situation is improved, 41% say it is about the same.

Hispanics and deportation worry

Latinos are also split in their concern about deportation. About half (47%) say they worry a lot (29%) or some (18%) that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported regardless of their own legal status, according to the new survey, which was conducted before Trump’s inauguration. But 52% say they worry not at all (40%) or not much (12%) about deportation of someone they know. These shares are relatively unchanged from 2013, when Latinos held similar views on the issue. However, these figures have changed since 2010, when 52% of Latinos said they worried a lot (34%) or some (18%) about deportation. (In 2010, immigration enforcement became a point of national debate in part due to an Arizona law – SB 1070 – that gave police increased powers to stop and detain people they suspected of being in the country illegally.)

The decline in the share of Latinos who worry about deportation coincided with a series of policy changes by the Obama administration that protected some immigrants from deportation. For example, in 2012 President Obama signed an executive action that allowed some unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before age 16 to receive work permits and relief from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Also in 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced new deportation priorities that focused enforcement on those convicted of crimes.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump made provocative comments about Mexican immigrants, building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and the deportation of millions who are in the country illegally (new Department of Homeland Security removal policies were announced earlier this week). Immigrants from Latin America made up about 78% of all unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2014, with a majority (52.5%) from Mexico, though the share from Mexico has declined over the past decade.

In the new survey, there are significant differences in deportation worry among some demographic subgroups of Hispanics. Among Latino immigrants, about two-thirds of those who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents (and likely unauthorized immigrants) say they worry a lot (45%) or some (22%) about deportation. Similarly, 66% of Latino lawful permanent residents say they worry a lot (47%) or some (19%) about deportation. These two groups expressed some of the greatest amount of worry of any demographic subgroup of Latinos.

Latinos who belong to these two groups are not U.S. citizens and are eligible for deportation if they are in the U.S. without authorization, commit certain crimes or violate the condition of their admission to the U.S. in some other way. Meanwhile, among Latino immigrants who are U.S. citizens, 52% worry a lot (33%) or some (19%) about deportation.

A third of U.S.-born Hispanics say they worry a lot (17%) or some (16%) that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported, while two-thirds (66%) say they worry not much (11%) or not at all (55%) about deportation.

At the same time, six-in-ten Hispanics who have not completed high school (60%) say they worry a lot or some that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported, while 37% say they worry not much or don’t worry at all about deportation. Among Hispanics who are high school graduates, about half (47%) say they worry a lot or some about deportation, while a similar share (53%) say they worry not much or don’t worry at all about deportation. Meanwhile, 37% of Hispanics with at least some college education say they worry a lot or some about deportation, while 62% say they worry not much or don’t worry at all about deportation.

The survey also finds that roughly half (54%) of Hispanic women say they worry a lot or some that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported, while 45% say they worry not much or don’t worry at all about deportation. By comparison, men are less likely to worry – 40% of Hispanic men say they worry a lot or some that they or someone close to them could be deported, while 58% say they worry not much or don’t worry at all about deportation.

There are also significant differences on this measure by political party. About half (53%) of Latino Democrats say they worry a lot or some that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported. Latinos who identify as political independents reported similar levels of worry about deportation – 47% say they worry a lot or some that someone they know may be deported. By comparison, just 28% of Latino Republicans say the same.

Trump’s election and Hispanic concerns about their place in America

After Trump’s presidential election win, 41% of Latinos say they have serious concerns about their place in America, compared with 54% who say they are confident about their place in America.

The survey finds that 45% of Hispanic immigrants and 38% of U.S.-born Hispanics to say they have serious concerns about their place in America. And among Hispanic immigrants, views of their place in America after Trump’s election are linked to their legal status. Some 55% of those who are not citizens and not residents (and likely unauthorized immigrants) and 49% of those who are lawful permanent residents have serious concerns about their place in America. By comparison, only 34% of Hispanic immigrants who are U.S. citizens say they are concerned about their place in America, a share similar to that of U.S.-born Hispanics.

At the same time, 45% of Latinos who have not completed high school say they have serious concerns about their place in America after Trump’s election. Some 36% of Latinos who have finished high school have serious concerns about their place in America, as do 42% of Latinos with at least some college education.

There are other differences among Hispanics on this measure. Some 46% of Hispanic women say they have serious concerns about their place in America after Trump’s election, a larger share than the 37% of Hispanic men who say the same.

There are wide gaps on this measure by political party identification. About half (53%) of Hispanic Democrats say they have serious concerns about their place in America after Trump’s election, as do 42% of Hispanics who identify as independent. By comparison, just 21% of Hispanic Republicans say they have serious concerns about their place in America, while 78% say they are confident about their place in America.

  1. The Great Recession began in December 2007 and lasted until June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee, which defines national recessions.