WPR News
7:52 am
Mon September 22, 2008

Wyoming Has Few Immigrants but Strong Views on Immigration

Laramie, WY – A UW sociologist says the main reason Wyoming voters are conservative on the issue of immigration is that the state has so few immigrants.

A recent poll of western states found 47 percent of Wyoming voters support deporting illegal immigrants. In Utah, considered one of the nation's most conservative states, only 37 percent support deportation.

Margie Zamudio says that's not surprising, since Utah has nearly twice the Latino population Wyoming has. "People that do have Latino neighbors," she says, "probably would not vote to have their neighbors deported. You know, they would probably see them as their equals, and as human beings."

Zamudio says it's harder for people in states with fewer immigrants to see the benefits immigrants can bring to the economy.