Majority of Asian American Republicans and Democrats Support Immigration Reform: AALDEF

New York, April 8, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio): Today, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) released detailed findings on support for immigration reform from its nonpartisan multilingual exit poll of 9,096 Asian American voters in the November 2012 elections, the largest survey of its kind in the nation. The results indicated that the majority of Asian Americans (65%) showed strong support for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented people.

Support for immigration reform cut across party lines, with 73% of Asian American Democrats, 53% of Asian American Republicans, and 57% of those not enrolled showing support for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

“Immigration reform for Asian Americans is truly a nonpartisan issue,” said Glenn D. Magpantay, Director of AALDEF’s Democracy Program. “Support for immigration reform is high among Asian American Republicans, even among those who voted for representatives like Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who are now positioning themselves as staunch opponents to a path to citizenship.”

In Texas, half (50%) of Asian Americans who voted for Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz supported immigration reform. Among those that did not fall into this category, only 27% opposed, compared to 23% who indicated that they “don’t know.” In Nevada, 68% of those who voted for Republican Senator Dean Heller supported immigration reform.

68% of Asian Americans supported immigration reform in New York, the state of Senator Charles Schumer, member of the Gang of Eight that is working on a forthcoming immigration reform proposal. In New Jersey, 80% of Asian Americans who voted for Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, likewise a member of the Gang of Eight, supported immigration reform.

Support for comprehensive immigration reform was also high in key swing states, such as Nevada (87%), Pennsylvania (69%), Virginia (67%), and Georgia (56%).

Asian American support for comprehensive immigration reform was consistent across all categories surveyed, including political party, English proficiency, voting experience, nativity, gender, and all education levels and age groups. For example, 67% of English proficient compared to 61% of limited English proficient Asian American voters supported comprehensive immigration reform, and 65% of first-time voters compared to 64% of non-first-time voters supported reform.

The majority of Asian Americans supported immigration reform across almost all education levels, with the highest being those with a college or high school degree (66%) and graduate degree (65%) and a low of 50% among those with a trade school degree.

The exit poll results are part of AALDEF's nonpartisan 14-state multilingual exit poll of 9,096 Asian American voters in cities with large Asian American populations. The largest Asian ethnic groups in the exit poll were Chinese (31%), Asian Indian (13%), Bangladeshi (12%), Vietnamese (12%), Korean (11%), Filipino (9%), Pakistani (3%), Arab (2%), Indo-Caribbean (1%), and Cambodian (1%). These results reveal vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys.

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