Friday, June 04, 2004

Another Poll - 85% Want Illegal Aliens Stopped and Deported

Wide majority of Davis residents share immigration worries.

Californians have been learning what it’s like to live “A Day Without a Mexican,” people across the Southwest are anguished over the nation’s porous borders and political adversaries in Utah County are duking it out over the perceived threat of a coming “mass immigration.”
Tensions over illegal immigration seem to be on everyone’s minds these days, including one seemingly unlikely place—Davis County. Some local residents are angry, and almost all seem to share significant concerns.
Californians, who are the most affected by immigrants—especially Latinos—have been reminded just how vital they have become through the recently released movie, “A Day Without a Mexican.” It attempts to detail the economic disaster that would await that state if Latino agricultural workers, teachers, cooks, law enforcement officers, emergency personnel and many others suddenly disappeared.
The current flap in Utah’s Third Congressional District stems around U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon’s proposal to allow undocumented immigrants in key agricultural areas to legally work in this country as “guest workers.”
And that has Republican challenger Matt Throckmorton leveling a bevy of objections, including overcrowding of classrooms, 15 million Americans without jobs and even the implication that illegal workers were complicit in the 1983 World Trade Center bombings.
Throckmorton seems to believe the issue resonates with many Utahns even though the state has fewer than 20,000 undocumented immigrants — which pales in comparison with an estimated 2.4 million in California and 1.1 million in Texas.
Most Davis residents seem to be concerned about illegal immigration, as well, expressing their concerns through letters to the editor, in private conversations, and recently through the Clipper’s online poll.
Although the results are unscientific, the poll of nearly 300 respondents showed only about 22 percent at ease with the issue.
About 21 percent said the issue was a significant concern, even in Davis County, fully 57 percent said it’s something that definitely must be stopped and another 7 per cent — although not considering it a big local concern — considered it a national problem.
If the poll fairly represents Davis County, 85 percent of the populace are worried in some way.
Estimating the number of undocumented immigrants isn’t easy — and most officials are hesitant to make estimates.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates that Davis County’s total foreign-born population is about 8,700. If the county matches Utah’s estimated percentage of those being undocumented (about half) about 4,300 residents are here illegally.
Even though this represents less than 2 percent of the local population, feelings still run high. In this and subsequent issues, the Clipper will examine the reality and perceptions surrounding undocumented workers, with an attempt to separate fact from fantasy.


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