With the rise in both the overall immigrant population in the United States, then increased inflow of illegal immigration coming into the country, and according to polls by Florida Latino voters, immigration is set to be the one of the top issues prioritized in the upcoming election.
The immigrant population living in the U.S. has nearly tripled in the last fifty years, from 9.7 million to over 42 million. Roughly a third of Hispanic immigrants are 18 years old or younger. Since the immigration of actual children is very low, most of these numbers were born in the United States, meaning that they either are or will be legal voters in the upcoming elections.
Meanwhile, more than 32,000 illegal immigrant families have been caught trying to sneak into the U.S. This is nearly 40% higher than 2014’s record, with the implication that the government’s relaxation in immigration enforcement has induced the swell in illegal crossers. Fortunately, the rate of children travelling alone to the U.S. has lowered slightly, although a recent uptick in March could suggest a new wave incoming.
It is no surprise that when Florida Latino voters were polled, 34 percent stated immigration was a top issue in the upcoming elections. Florida, a swing vote state, has one of the highest percentages of Latinos in the country, composing over 23 percent of the population. 20 percent of respondents know someone who has applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Approximately 39 percent of respondents said they know someone who is undocumented while a quarter know someone who has faced deportation or detention for immigration issues.
Floridian Latinos themselves have a personal stake in the election’s decision concerning immigration, since approximately 229,000 of Florida immigrants would be eligible for deportation deferral, work permits, and state driver’s licenses under the immigration programs, which could all be lost depending on the electoral results.