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Texas newspapers’ immigration poll brings out the worst of the “American people” — or does it?

LatinaLista — Four major newspapers in Texas — The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle, The Austin American-Statesman and The San Antonio Express-News — decided to conduct a statewide poll on how Texans feel about illegal immigration.


Since it’s an issue that according to the national GOP the “American people” want resolved through punitive legislation and increased border security, it’s only reasonable to find out if Texans are every bit as paranoid and reckless with their assumptions of Latinos as some Arizona residents.

The poll showed that regarding a similar Arizona law: there were clear breaks between Republicans (78 percent favoring it) and Democrats (71 percent opposing it), and Hispanics (76 percent opposing) and whites (68 percent favoring).

Yet, what surprised political analysts reviewing the poll was that the margins among the answers were so narrow. Clearly, there just isn’t the same kind of manic responses that the issue elicits in other states. And there shouldn’t be given the history of Mexicans with Texas before Texas was even part of the nation.

But there is a concentrated effort among some people to push the issue as a divisive issue between Latinos and others.

How do we know?

It’s all in the comments.

When local Arizona newspapers ran stories about SB 1070 in Arizona, comments ran for pages and pages online. There were insulting, dehumanizing and lacked reason.

There were three comments on the story of the immigration poll on Monday (today) in The Dallas Morning News, even though six were listed in the numerical count. One can only surmise that three were taken off for being questionable in tone.

The three remaining spoke about “concerns” that aren’t voiced that often in Texas. In fact, one commenter wasn’t even from Texas. All three tried to instill fear of Latinos in their comments, from saying “la raza” was trying to take over Texas” to this:

We have had to endure watching our state be run over by illegals who eat better and drive better cars than us on our dollar. But thank goodness America has woken up…My fellow Americans do not believe what the liberal media would like you to believe. You can depend on Fox news giving you just about the most accurate and fair unbiased news you can get. Come November every politician that is in favor of illegal immigration will be voted out. Hide and watch.

Not sure where this person sees undocumented immigrants eat better or drive better cars than him — could he be confusing Latino citizens with undocumented immigrants? Or just watching too much of FOX news?

Regardless, the calibre of comments that try to evoke resentment, fear and anger underscore just who is driving the illegal immigration debate — I would bet it’s not most “American people.”

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