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How U.S. Women's Views on Illegal Workers Differ by Ethnicity
When President George W. Bush unveiled his immigration-reform plans in the spring of 2006, a survey by the creators of NiaPulse revealed that black women are less likely than whites to think that illegal aliens are taking their jobs

With the May 2006 announcement of President George W. Bush's plans to push for immigration reform and station up to 6,000 National Guard troops on the United States' border with Mexico, the national debate over illegal immigration reached a fever pitch. Some news commentaries about the debate suggested that African-Americans are concerned that illegal aliens are taking jobs away from them. However, a 2006 survey of women across the country by the creators of NiaPulse suggested that blacks are actually less concerned than whites about that possibility and are more open to allowing undocumented workers a chance to work here legally.

Only 16 percent of black respondents to the March 2006 online survey agreed with the statement that illegal immigrants "take away jobs from African-Americans and other citizens," while twice as many whites (33 percent) agreed with that statement. Black respondents (49 percent) were more likely to buy the argument that although undocumented workers are not taking their jobs, they do "drive down wages because they'll work for less." Only 37 percent of white respondents agreed with that statement.

Sixteen percent of black respondents agreed that undocumented workers are "only taking the jobs that African-Americans and other citizens won't do anyway," versus 9 percent of whites. Seven percent of blacks agreed that "without illegal aliens, the U.S. economy would collapse," compared with 4 percent of whites. The rest of the respondents either did not believe that undocumented workers have an effect on the U.S. economy or were not sure.

Black respondents (49 percent) were more supportive than whites (30 percent) of a program, such as the one President Bush has proposed, that would allow many undocumented workers to remain here legally while applying for permanent residency and paying back taxes and fines. Twenty-seven percent of blacks opposed such a program, versus 45 percent of whites; and 24 percent of blacks were unsure, versus 25 percent of whites. More than 750 members of NiaOnline's Consumer Advisory Panel responded to the survey.

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