A project of the Center for Community Change

latino voters

Keeping Families Together in our Fight for Immigration Reform

This year has been a huge one for DREAMers who earlier this year were granted deferred action status. But the fight for DREAMers is not over. Although they now have the ability to stay in the U.S. without fear, their parents and other family members do not live with same sense of security.   Keeping families together is why immigration reform leaders are meeting in D.C.

Immigrant families have contributed to our economy and are an integral piece in the framework of our American society. A coalition of grassroots organizations and The Campaign for Community Change are organizing to launch the, Keeping Families Together campaign tour. The tour will stop in New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., among others. Family stories will be told at campaign rallies, vigils, community dinners, and will be recorded and shared with policymakers.

Our families want citizenship, which is a real solution that upholds our nation’s values, and moves us forward together.  Our current immigration system is badly broken. What people don’t understand is that there is literally no way for some undocumented immigrants to become legal, including people who were here as young children. And unscrupulous employers can prey on workers and pay low wages. A path to citizenship will give immigrants an opportunity to become legal, pay taxes, and participate fully in American society.

So DREAMers and their families will continue to work toward comprehensive immigration reform, and the Keeping Families Together summit will help us achieve it.

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Politico: GOP sounds alarm on Latino voter gap

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Last fall, we correctly predicted that the raging anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from portions of the Republican party would not fly during the election. (*Please note, I am not conflating Republican with anti-immigrant. Not all Republicans are anti-immigrant and they are plenty of anti’s among the Democratic party. However, the most extreme of the anti’s do seem to come from the Right). During November’s election, Latino and New American voters proved to be this past year’s “soccer moms”, swinging Democratic in huge numbers and effectively sealing the Democratic party’s decisive victory.

Today’s front page of Politico continues this storyline, discussing the GOP’s fear that the mass exodus of Latino voters may leave the party politically powerless.

Driven by some Republicans’ sharp attacks on illegal immigration and — as many Hispanics perceived it, immigrants in general — Latino voters fled the GOP en masse in the midterm elections, then turned on John McCain, as well.

He got 31 percent of the Latino vote to the 44 percent that George W. Bush took in 2004, according to exit polls. And it was enough to put much of the West and Southwest out of reach for the Republican Party, to give Florida to the Democrats and to hand Barack Obama the presidency.

Now, as Obama moves to solidify his advantage, Republican leaders are sounding the alarm on what could be the party’s most pressing national challenge.

While the article continues in detail about the political ramifications of this,  I just want to note that, as I’ve said before, using immigration as a wedge issue and pushing anti-immigrant policies is political suicide.

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President Obama’s Latino Love Affair

si-se-puede1Today, Politico has a full-length article about the Obama administration’s courting of their most vital demographic – Latino voters. This is something that I’ve been blogging about since well before the election. Last November, Latinos turned out in record numbers to support the now-President Obama. Much of that support was based on his promise to push for immigration reform, a priority issue on the Latino community’s agenda.

In February, President Obama went on the El Piolin show (an outrageously popular Latino radio show hosted by El Piolin, Eduardo Sotelo) And last week, the administration invited Sotelo to the White House to have a sit-down conversation with the President.

“We need to be able to communicate through radio and obviously you’ve got the biggest listenership so we’ve got to make sure you’re involved,” Obama said in the interview.

The blossoming friendship between the administration and El Piolin is just the tip of the iceberg of the new inclusion of the Latino community. Latinos have been included in all major policy discussion since Obama took office. And many already feel the doors of opportunity being opened. The President has also visited Arizona (a border state with a high Latino population) twice in his time in office, including giving the commencement speech at Arizona State University last night.

However, as Luis Gutierrez, the Congressional leader on immigration reform puts it:

“He will ultimately be judged by the Hispanic community on what he does for the weakest and most vulnerable,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, the veteran Chicago Democrat, referring to the issue on which he’s become a national leader, comprehensive immigration reform.

Obama has committed to immigraiton reform publicly – the story broke in April, with a HUGE response from advocates to support the gesture. He noted he would be making a public statement about reform sometime this May, though we are still waiting for this cue.

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Even Rahm Emanuel, who has been an opponent of previous reform bills, has acknowledged his support for reform. Rep. Gutierrez notes that Rahm, who is well-known for his shrewd and calculating politics, has to make good on reform if the administration wants to stay in good favor with Latino voters.

“If Rahm thinks he can get away with not doing anything on immigration and still have the support of Latino voters, it won’t get done,” said Gutierrez, who has had a long and at times contentious relationship with his fellow Chicago pol.

While there are certainly other issues on the docket for the Latino community, it seems that immigration reform is the most pressing and the most widely supported. The administration acknowledges it will be a tough battle to pass a reform bill, but as I’ve said before, it seems that the momentum for such a bill continues to grow by the day.

From Politico:

When Piolin asked Obama if he had the votes in Congress on immigration reform, the president was candid.

“Probably not yet,” he said

But when it comes time to rally support for the bill, Obama said he would need the talk show host’s help.
“You can count on me,” Piolin assured.

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