Majority of Asian American Republicans and Democrats Support Immigration Reform
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.
AALDEF’s multilingual exit polls reveal vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys. AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988. In 2012, more than 100 community groups and organizations joined AALDEF to mobilize over 800 attorneys, law students, and volunteers to conduct the exit poll and to safeguard the voting rights of Asian Americans. A list of co-sponsoring organizations and law firms follows below.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.
2012 AALDEF ASIAN AMERICAN EXIT POLL – Co-Sponsoring Organizations and Law Firms
Alliance of South Asian American Labor Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance APIAVote Common Cause Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Nat’l Coalition of Asian Pac. Amer. Comm. Dev. Nat’l Korean Amer. Service & Education Consortium National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance North American South Asian Bar Association OCA (formerly Organization of Chinese Americans) South Asian Americans Leading Together
ACCESS – MI APALA – Nevada APIA Vote – Michigan Asian American Society of Central Virginia Boat People SOS Delaware Valley – PA CAAAV – NY Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia Center for Pan Asian Community Services – GA Chhaya CDC – NY Chinese-American Planning Council – NY Chinese Community Federation of Atlanta Chinese Progressive Association – MA Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia East Coast Asian American Student Union Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York Hunter College/CUNY, Asian Am. Studies Prog – NY Korean American Civic Empowerment of NY/NJ Korean American Resource and Cultural Center – IL MinKwon Center for Community Action – NY NAAAP – New York NAAAP – Philadelphia NANAY – FL NAPAWF – DC NAPAWF – New York City OCA: Georgia OCA: Greater Houston OCA: Greater Philadelphia OCA: Greater Washington DC OCA: Northern Virginia OCA: South Florida Pace University, ACE House – NY Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition\ Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation Princeton Asian American Students Association – NJ Q-WAVE – NY South Asian Lesbian & Gay Association of New York U. California San Diego, Lambda Phi Epsilon U. Maryland, College Park, Asian Amer. Studies Prog. U. Massachusetts Boston, Asian Amer. Studies Prog. Viet. Amer. Young Leaders Assoc. of New Orleans
Asian American Bar Association of Houston Asian American Bar Association of New York Asian American Lawyers Assoc. of Massachusetts Asian American Legal Advocacy Center of Georgia Asian Bar Association of Las Vegas – NV Asian Pacific American Bar Assoc. of Wash., DC Asian Pacific American Bar Assoc. of Pennsylvania Asian Pacific American Bar Assoc. of South Florida Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of NJ Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center – DC Boston University School of Law, APALSA – MA Brooklyn Law School, APALSA – NY Columbia Law School, APALSA – NY Filipino Amer. Legal Defense & Educ. Fund, Inc. – NY Georgetown Law, APALSA – DC Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association Greater Boston Legal Services: Asian Outreach Unit Harvard Law School, APALSA – MA Korean Amer. Bar Assoc. of the Washington DC Area Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater NY Louisiana Asian Pacific American Bar Association Muslim American Bar Association of New York New England School of Law, APALSA – MA Pace Law School, Public Interest Law Center – NY Rutgers School of Law-Newark, APALSA – NJ South Asian Bar Association of New York South Asian Bar Association of Washington, DC Suffolk U. Law Rappaport Ctr. Law and Public Serv. University of Nevada, Las Vegas, APALSA U. Penn. Law, Public Interest Office and APALSA