Americans overestimate number of undocumented Latinos: poll

Asylum-seeking migrants' families wait to be transported by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico on April 23
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Americans are overestimating the number of undocumented Latinos they believe are in the country, according to a poll commissioned by several Latino groups. 

Data released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Homeland Security say Latinos are 18.7 percent of the population with only 13 percent of all Latinos in the U.S. undocumented. 

The poll found, across racial and ethnic lines, Americans are overestimating how many Latinos are undocumented. 

White people believe 32 percent of Latinos are undocumented, Latinos say 36 percent are undocumented and Asian Americans say 30 percent of Latinos are undocumented.

Black people were the group with the largest estimate, saying 39 percent of Latinos are undocumented. 

Along with a misperception of the number of undocumented Latinos, all racial groups are off by more than 20 percent when estimating the number of Latinos born in the U.S.

The number of Latinos who are native-born citizens is at 67 percent, with the group closest to the estimate, Latinos, saying only 42 percent are native-born. 

In terms of favorability towards Latinos, all racial and ethnic groups have an 80 percent or greater favorability towards the group as a whole and those living in the U.S. legally.

Favorability towards Latinos drops among all groups for undocumented individuals. The poll found only 67 percent of Latinos, 51 percent of Asian Americans, 52 percent of Black people and 33 percent of white people look at undocumented Latinos favorably.

The poll found Asian Americans and white people, at 55 percent and 53 percent respectively, believe undocumented immigrants are taking jobs from Americans. 

Overall, more than 75 percent of all groups say Latinos “have a lot to offer this country, they are an economic boost.”

The poll was commissioned by The Latino Donor Collaborative, the Latino Corporate Directors Association, Friends of the American Latino Museum and UnidosUS.

The groups said in the poll “media and entertainment invisibility and stereotypes, the national dialogue on illegal immigration, pervasive negative news media coverage, and the proliferation of misrepresentations from politicians and activists alike” are persuading public perception of Latinos. 

The poll was conducted between Aug. 25 and Sept.2 and surveyed 2,200 American adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

Tags latinos Undocumented immigrant
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