2/27-3/7 – Heading into the presidential election – Latino voters to send message on anti-immigrant policies

7 Mar

Yesterday was Super Tuesday, when Republicans in ten states across the country awarded over 400 delegates in the race for the GOP presidential candidacy. Although Latinos did not significantly shape these primaries (given the small Latino population in these states, and the low rate of registered Republican Latino voters), they are expected to play a critical role during the general election in many of these states. Everyone along the political spectrum is hoping to win the Latino vote.

Political and demographic analysis by CNN identified 12 key swing states for November’s election and estimated that the Latino population in these states has increased by 700,000 since the 2008 election. Many of these states, including Arizona, Indiana, and Virginia, have also passed a number of anti-immigrant laws, bringing issues of immigration to the forefront of this year’s election. The rise in harsh immigration policies contributes to the findings of a poll conducted this week, reporting that Latino voters support Obama over any of the Republican presidential candidates 6-to-1.

While the changing demographics in many swing states seem to give greater voice to the Latino vote, changes in voting laws could significantly impact voting patterns. A report released by the Brennan Center late last year found that over 5 million voters will be affected by the restrictive voting laws passed in 2011. Two elements of these laws – requiring photo ID and proof of citizenship – could pose barriers that disproportionately threaten the ability of Latino voters to exercise their right to vote.

In response to the growing focus on the role of Latino voters in this year’s presidential race (highlighted by this week’s TIME magazine cover story “Why Latino Voters Will Swing the 2012 Election”), and given the current controversies surrounding anti-immigrant legislation around the country, community organizations and political parties are reaching out to Latino voters. This week, The Hispanic Federation, The League of United Latin American Citizens, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement announced the launch of a large-scale Latino voter registration campaign – “Movimiento Hispano” – with the goal of registering 200,000 new Latino voters by November’s general election.

Immigration policy remains an important and contentious piece of this year’s presidential politics. A strong Latino presence at the polls may be an important element in fighting against the harsh anti-immigrant policies promoted by the Republican candidates. To create safer, healthier communities, voters in November’s election need to send the message to both parties that they will not win votes by taking anti-immigrant positions.

In Other News:

Across Arizona, Illegal Immigration is on Back Burner – New York Times 2.27.12 The intense focus on illegal immigration in the state has diminished somewhat, as evidenced in last week’s Republican presidential candidates’ debate, when it took an hour before immigration was brought up.

Mitt Romney’s support from Jan Brewer could dismay Latinos – Los Angeles Times 2.27.12 Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has endorsed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and while her tough stance on illegal immigration may help him with conservative voters, it might further alienate Latinos.

Mayor Prohibits City Police From Enforcing Federal Immigration Law – WBAL Baltimore’s mayor plans to sign an executive order “that effectively stops any local enforcement of federal immigration laws.” This comes after federal officials announced that the controversial Secure Communities fingerprint sharing program would be implemented in the city.

164 Anti-Immigration Laws Passed Since 2010? A MoJo Analysis.

MotherJones Magazine has developed a database of anti-immigration laws passed in 2010-11.

 

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