Poll: Latinos Fear Arizona Law Spurs Racial Profiling

The majority of immigrant Latinos, as well as those born in the U.S., believe that Arizona's "show me your papers" law could lead to racial profiling, a recent poll has found.

About 79 percent of those polled said that it's likely that police will stop Latino U.S. citizens or legal immigrants, according to a poll by Latino Decisions discussed in an online forum Monday.

Second-generation Latino immigrants were the group most likely to believe that police would stop or question legal immigrants and U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent, demonstrating that even those who are in the country legally could face discrimination from laws intended to target illegal immigrants, said Matt Barreto, principal of Latino Decisions and associate professor of political science at the University of Washington.

"This could lead to worse relations with police," Barreto said.

The poll was commissioned by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and America's Voice, both left-leaning organizations that advocate for immigrant rights.

The survey reached 504 Latino registered voters between July 7 and July 16. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Latino voters appear to be unclear about President Obama and Mitt Romney's stance on S.B. 1070. When asked what position the presidential candidates took on Arizona's law, more than half indicated they didn't know.

The candidates, Baretto said, failed to make it clear where they stand on S.B. 1070.

Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, said that both Obama and Mitt Romney have an opportunity to speak to the Latino community about where they stand on immigration and Arizona's law.

Obama's recent stance against S.B. 1070 and the Supreme Court's decision on the law will likely work to his advantage because it could win him some independent votes, Sharry said.

In general, voters, including those living in battleground states, have said they support the comprehensive immigration laws, Barreto said, citing a series of polls from 2010 through 2012. He said the criticism appears to be coming from a handful of elected representatives.