1/11/05 Contact: Jim Seroka, 334-844-4781 (jseroka@auburn.edu)
David M. Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)


AUBURN -- Like many states throughout the South and Southwest, Alabama is seeing a surge in guest immigrant workers -- a trend that concerns most citizens.

These are among the findings of the fall Ask Alabama public opinion survey, conducted by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University. Ask Alabama releases monthly results of polls on topics of interest to Alabamians.

According to Ask Alabama’s October telephone survey of 1,012 Alabama residents age 19 or older, 58 percent say they believe guest immigrants are taking jobs away from Alabamians. Additionally, a majority of respondents said they do not believe immigrants bring any needed work skills into the state.

“Alabamians are uncomfortable with the presence of immigrant workers,” says poll director Jim Seroka. “Many feel that immigrants are taking lower skill jobs that could be better filled by local residents.”

Only one in nine Alabamians support state assistance to new guest immigrants to ease their transition into local communities.

“Most Alabamians do not want to encourage immigration or immigrant competition for jobs in their community by providing social services or assistance,” notes Seroka.

However, citizens feel just the opposite if assistance is aimed at helping immigrants become naturalized Americans. Almost three-quarters of those surveyed strongly support English language and citizenship classes.

“Alabamians are sending a clear message that state and local governments should focus upon assistance programs aimed at bridging immigrant workers into citizenship,” said Seroka.

Other findings of the Ask Alabama poll on guest immigrant workers include:

* Few Alabamians (10 percent) perceive that recent immigrants have had generally positive impacts on their community; and

* Forty-one percent (41%) perceive that recent immigrants are responsible for small or major problems in their community.

Complete results of the Ask Alabama poll on guest immigrant workers can be found at www.askalabama.org. The poll, conducted Oct. 12-27, includes an estimated margin of error of plus or minus three percent.

Ask Alabama telephone surveys on issues of interest to Alabamians are conducted quarterly.

(Contributed by Jim Seroka)