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Americans are divided on immigration: Poll

Nearly 75 percent of Hispanics think illegal immigrants contribute to society while six in 10 non-Hispanics think they are a drain on the country, according to an Associated Press-Univision poll released last week.

That question was one of a number posed that highlighted a stark difference between how Hispanics and non-Hispanics view the new immigration law in Arizona that will allow police officers to ask for papers showing residents are in the country legally if they have reasonable suspicion they might be in the United States illegally.

Nearly half — 45 percent — of non-Hispanics are either strongly or somewhat in favor of the law while only 15 percent of Hispanics support it.

One in five non-Hispanics somewhat or strongly opposes the law compared to 67 percent of Hispanics.

Roughly two-thirds of Hispanics believe the immigration law goes too far while only 23 percent of non-Hispanics think so.

While Hispanics and non-Hispanics think differently about the law, the same percentage — 27 percent — equally believe the law is either extremely or very likely to significantly reduce Arizona’s illegal immigration problem.

Although the law does not explicitly target Hispanics, opponents of the measure believe it will since Arizona borders Mexico.

Roughly half — 46 percent — of non-Hispanics believe it is either extremely or very likely the new law will lead police to wind up stopping and questioning legal Hispanic immigrants, while 62 percent of Hispanics believe that will be the case.

Almost three-quarters — 73 percent — of Hispanics said they think it would be an “extremely” or “very serious” problem if the new law led police to question legal Hispanic immigrants.

Only 34 percent of non-Hispanics believed that would be an extremely or very serious problem.

The new law would have a significant impact on tourism to the state among Hispanics, according to the poll.

Roughly 40 percent of Hispanics said the new law makes it less likely that they will take a trip to Arizona while 54 percent said it will not make a difference and another 5 percent said it makes it more likely they will visit the state.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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