Tag: NALEO

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Podcast: The Road Not Taken – Millions of Immigrants Could Apply for Citizenship, But Haven’t

On this Fi2W Podcast, experts discuss how growing numbers of immigrants say being able to work legally in the U.S. is enough.

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Romney Presents Best Candidate for Latinos: Obama

Fi2W commentator Erwin de Leon writes that Mitt Romney had nothing substantial to say in his speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

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Race to See Who Can Be Florida’s Most Anti-Illegal Immigration Candidate

The fight between Bill McCollum and Rick Scott for Florida’s GOP gubernatorial nomination has featured anti-immigrant rhetoric–and it’s making the some of the state’s Hispanic Republicans uneasy.

Immigration NewsImmigration ReformLatino

“Broken Promise” on Immigration Reform May Affect Fall Elections

As primary season nears, Hispanic voters are expressing their disappointment over President Obama’s “promesa rota” on immigration reform.

Immigration News

More Latinos May Have Voted For Obama Than Previously Thought, New Survey Says

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

Support for Barack Obama in the presidential election among Hispanic voters may have been even higher than exit polls have indicated. According to a new poll released Thursday by ImpreMedia, the country’s largest Spanish-language newspaper chain, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), Obama’s margin over John McCain may have exceeded the 2-to-1 ratio indicated by earlier surveys.

Seventy-two percent of Latino voters chose the Democrat, said the poll, which surveyed 800 Latino registered voters between November 7 and 14 “in the 21 states with the largest Latino voter populations, and accounting for 93 percent of the Latino electorate,” according to NALEO’s press release.

That figure is higher than the 67 percent announced after Election Day — the difference, according to La Opinion‘s Pilar Marrero, lies in the fact that this survey included early and absentee voters who accounted for “forty percent of Latino voters.”

The poll also seems to confirm that turnout among Latinos was high: 92 percent of registered Latinos surveyed said they voted in this election. Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the NALEO Educational Fund said in the press release,

The record turnout among Latinos solidifies this emerging electorate as an important voting bloc among U.S. voters. The survey also finds that naturalized immigrant voters and first time voters played a significant role in shaping the Latino vote.

However, the Democratic Party should heed the message of Latino voters in our survey: with their strong support of President-elect Obama and his party, come high expectations.

(more…)

Immigration News

NALEO Survey: Significant Numbers of Latinos Remain Undecided in Battleground States

“Obamanos,” Latino Support for Obama in Espanola, N.M.
NPR
PHOTO by Ben Bergman/Morning Edition

With the presidential race increasingly focused on states where Latinos are a big chunk of the electorate, the latest survey released by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) shows there are still significant numbers of Latinos who are undecided in those key states. [You can download the report in pdf here.]

The survey included registered voters in Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Nevada. According to NALEO, Latinos in those states may vote “in unprecedented numbers”: nearly ninety percent of Latino registered voters are almost certain they will vote on Nov. 4.

[Both campaigns are releasing their Spanish-language ads mostly in these states, while Latinos in other regions of the country don’t receive as much attention. As I reported recently in a story in the New York Daily News, Latinos in other states are not so highly energized about voting this year.]

Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the NALEO Educational Fund, said in a press release:

In key battleground states, Latino voters are ready to vote in huge numbers, and a significant percentage is still persuadable. Underestimating the Latino vote could be disastrous for either party.

The top priority for most of the voters surveyed by NALEO is the economy. “The severe downturn in the housing and mortgage sector is likely to impact many Latinos,” the study says. Other issues of importance are the war in Iraq, health care and immigration reform. This represents little change from earlier polls, which had shown -even before “bailout” was in our daily lexicon- Latinos’ top issue was the economic downturn.

Looking at undecided Latino voters state by state, here’s what’s up:

The West is blue. Barack Obama enjoys strong support from Hispanics in Colorado (63% to John McCain’s 15%), New Mexico (61% to 20%) and Nevada (55% to 14%).

Florida is another story. “In Florida,” NALEO says, “the battle for the Latino vote is nearly a statistical tie at 38% for McCain and 35% for Obama.”

Still… Voters who remain undecided or “only indicate not so strong support” for a candidate are: one in five in Colorado and New Mexico; one in four in Florida; and nearly one in three in Nevada. [NPR says Obama’s campaign is putting a “major focus” on New Mexico.]

The numbers would seem to provide a glimmer of hope for John McCain, except when compared to President George W. Bush’s historic (for a Republican) 40% performance among Hispanic voters in 2004.

As both Politico and The A.P. noted recently, Latinos seem to be turning a cold shoulder to McCain after his change of heart regarding immigration reform.

This is how Sam Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and a prominent supporter of George W. Bush in 2004, explained it to Politico‘s Ben Smith,

“I feel bad for McCain. We find ourselves between the proverbial rock and the hard place. We really like John McCain. We really don’t like the Republican Party.”

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Anger Management: Outraged Immigrant Voters Could Make a Difference on November 4

If the presidential primaries are any indication, voter turnout on November 4 will be very heavy. Some electoral analysts believe this will be especially true in key ethnic communities, including among Latinos, who appear set to turn out in record numbers. At a recent Feet in Two Worlds town hall forum on “Deconstructing the Immigrant Vote,” political organizers and ethnic media journalists agreed that anger is among the most important factors motivating immigrant voters this year.

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Journalist Pilar Marrero speaks at the forum on Deconstructing the Immigrant Vote at the New School. Josh Hoyt, Executive Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and journalist Aswini Anburajan were also on the panel.

“When an electorate gets angry they go out and vote,” said Feet in Two Worlds journalist Aswini Anburajan. “And it’s starting to mobilize people.”

According to Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), anti-immigrant laws and rhetoric have been “the driving force” pushing a growing number of Latino immigrants to become naturalized citizens. “It’s out of anger, it’s out of fear, and it’s out of the sense that if they become a citizen and vote it’s an act of self defense,” he said.

Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of NALEO responds to a story by Pilar Marrero on Latino ‘s who are becoming citizens so they can vote in this year’s election.

Speaking to an audience at The New School, where the forum was held, Vargas said Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform is also motivating Latino voters. “We saw it in 2006 when millions of people took to the streets of America demanding … immigration reform.” Vargas noted that many of the protesters in ’06 were teenagers who have since reached voting age. “We have now a new generation of Latino youth who have reached the age of 18 in a very politicized environment where their consciousness has been raised,” Vargas said. “They told us two years ago, ‘Today we march, tomorrow we vote.’ Well, tomorrow has arrived.”

It’s not just Hispanics who may vote out of anger. Asian American outrage over a racially charged remark by U.S. Senator George Allen of Virginia played a key role in his razor-thin loss to Democrat Jim Webb in 2006. Webb’s victory gave the Democrats control of the Senate for the first time since 1994. (more…)

Immigration News

Latinos Expected to Vote in Record Numbers this November: Could Help Turn Red States Blue

At least 9.2 million Latinos are expected to vote in November’s presidential election according to a report released Thursday by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. If the estimate is correct, it would represent an increase of more than one million Latino voters compared to the 2004 election.

The number is considered “merely a floor” rather than a ceiling by NALEO, which issued the 64-page report on the potential impact of Latinos in this election cycle. If Latino voter turnout in this year’s primaries is an indicator, the report says the Latino vote could spike even higher in the general election and represent a record percentage of the overall vote in key battleground states. “Changing demographics and rising political participation in the Latino community are redefining the American political landscape,” Senators Ken Salazar and Robert Menendez wrote in the report. “More than any time in the history of our great country, Latino voices and Latino voters will be at the center of the 2008 election, helping to determine the direction our country takes at this critical juncture.”

Primaries Demonstrated Power of Latino Vote
Latinos have already proved they are a formidable voting block, providing the margin of victory for Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Texas and Ohio Democratic primaries and for Sen. John McCain in his decisive win in the Florida GOP primary, according to the NALEO report. The modified primary calendar provided ethnic minorities with more of a say in the presidential nominating process. Seventy-nine percent of the nation’s Latinos live in states that held primaries or caucuses on or before March 4th.

Democrats appeared to benefit the most from the turnout. “Latino Democratic turnout in some major states with large Latino populations doubled, tripled and even quintupled between 2004 and 2008,” the NALEO report found. Latino turnout may be a key to victory for Democrats in the general election, since at least five of the fourteen swing states that the Party hopes to turn blue have sizeable Latino populations.

Florida Remains the State to Watch
Not surprisingly, NALEO points to Florida as the state to watch in the 2008 election. Though Florida’s Latino population has historically trended Republican, an influx of Latinos from South and Central America, as well as Puerto Ricans in Central Florida, have created a sizeable electorate that could vote Democratic. Latinos who are registered Democratic in the state outnumber Latino registered Republicans by 35.3 percent to 33.5 percent. A third of registered of Latinos are unaffiliated and may be up for grabs by both parties. NALEO projects that more than one million Latino voters in Florida will cast their ballot in November’s presidential election.

Latino Turnout Could Be Even Higher
Nationwide more than 17 million Latinos are eligible to vote. One factor that could push the number higher is the swelling ranks of Latinos naturalized as US citizens. The overall number of naturalization applications doubled from 2006 to 2007 to 1.4 million applicants according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Due to a backlog in processing applications, however, the government agency estimates that will finish processing only 80 percent of the applications filed in 2007 in time for the election. Historically, turnout by naturalized Latinos is higher than those who are native born, according to the Census Bureau.

The immigration debate has also galvanized the Latino electorate, according to the NALEO report. “The last two years have seen the mass mobilization of Latinos in reaction to our nation’s widely publicized immigration debate,” the report says. “The intense current debate has already affected Latino naturalizations, and many Latino applicants for citizenship are motivated in part by the desire to make their voices heard.” However, the report concluded that it is unclear how much of the political reaction to the debate would translate into Latino turnout in the election.