Nearly two thirds of Latinos in the United States think they are being discriminated against, and a plurality believe the backlash over illegal immigration is the central driver of such bias.
“More Latinos are seeing discrimination against Hispanics as a major problem,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, which released the results of a nationwide survey of Latinos on Thursday.
The results of the survey — which was conducted in both English and Spanish among 1,375 native- and foreign-born Latinos from Aug. 17 through Sept. 19 — come just days before midterm elections in which Latinos are expected to play an important role, particularly in the Florida gubernatorial race and the Nevada Senate contest between Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid and tea party favorite Sharron Angle.
Angle has come under fire for running ads in recent weeks that paint Latinos as menacing interlopers.
More than half of all Latinos told Pew pollsters that they were worried that family members, close friends or they themselves could be deported — a measure of how deeply the issue of illegal immigration cuts across the 47 million-strong U.S. Latino community.
Significantly more Latinos than in past surveys say that illegal immigrants are having a negative impact on Latinos, a measure of how the issue is simultaneously stirring and dividing the community.