According to a Pew Research Center survey of Hispanic adults in the U.S. taken before Donald Trump’s inauguration, the population is divided about his presidency and what it could mean for the Hispanic community.
In addition to unveiling this division, the survey also found that a rising number of Hispanic Americans now believe their situation is worsening. In particular, many people fear someone they know will soon be deported.
According to the Pew Research Center’s data, around 41% of those surveyed report having “serious concerns” about their positions in the United States. Meanwhile, 49% of survey respondents believe that the situation for U.S. Hispanics is about the same as it was one year ago.
Despite the near 50/50 split, the number of people in the Hispanic community who believe their situation is declining has grown rapidly over the last few years. For instance, the share of Hispanic individuals who believe their situation has worsened has almost doubled since 2013 when only 15% of people believed that.
The U.S. Hispanic population is one of the nation’s fastest-growing groups, and it is largely a U.S.-born population. The fact that many of them feel their place in American life is threatened speaks volumes, especially considering how many of them are legal, documented U.S. citizens.
But numerous undocumented immigrants have traveled, and still travel, to the U.S. for job opportunities, specifically the types of low-wage jobs American companies often struggle to fill. For example, the U.S. has the second-largest construction market in the world with a market share of around 10%.
And according to Hanley Wood’s Chief Economist Mark Boud, approximately 20% of employees in the construction workforce are undocumented.
Some construction industry experts believe that stricter immigration and deportation policies will result in higher demand and higher wages for American citizens in the field. The increase in pay would be coming at a time when the industry is in sore need of skilled workers. As a result, wages are already rising for construction workers.
But despite the laborious paperwork that comes with employing immigrants, construction companies still fight fiercely to fill open positions. The Associated General Contractors of America actually supports many immigration policies, but the Trump administration could bring an end to liberal policies on immigrant labor.
The future is uncertain, and without further clarification from the Trump administration, the Hispanic population may continue to be divided. And, particularly right now, there are few things more American than that.