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Latinos' Views Mixed on Immigration, Poll Finds

A new survey by the Pew Hispanic Center finds surprising views towards immigration on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

For example, Hispanics born in this country support efforts to deny driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, while the majority Hispanic citizens who emigrated do not.

Both foreign-born Hispanics and those native to the United States feel that immigration levels should stay about the same. But a poll taken in Mexico paints a very different picture. It suggests an estimated 32 million adults in Mexico -- about 46 percent of adults -- would come to the United States if they had the means and opportunity. And about half of those people said they'd be willing to move to and work in the United States illegally.

Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center, says the poll provides a sense of the dimensions of immigration policy challenges for the United States. He says neither stronger enforcement of the U.S-Mexico border nor a guest worker program address the numbers.

"Given the inclination to migrate," Suro says, "and the fact that you have deep and well-functioning channels now between Mexico and the U.S. that carry people here, a smallish worker program would only absorrb some of the demand. It would take a lot more enforcement than there is now to make sure the rest of the demand wasn't met through illegal migration."

The Pew study finds that 35 percent of Mexican college graduates want to come to the United States, even if they have to work at a job below their qualifications. Many college-educated people who want to come to the United States said they would come illegally.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's senior national correspondent, Linda Wertheimer travels the country and the globe for NPR News, bringing her unique insights and wealth of experience to bear on the day's top news stories.