With studies suggesting that long lines at the polls cost Democrats hundreds of thousands of votes in November, party leaders are beginning a push to make voting and voter registration easier, setting up a likely new conflict with Republicans over a deeply polarizing issue. Read the full article (NYTimes.com)
The nation’s largest Latino organizations warned Congress on Wednesday that they will keep a report card during the immigration debate next year, with plans to mobilize their voters against lawmakers who do not support a comprehensive immigration bill. Read the full article (NYTimes.com)>
Indeed, across the United States, Latinos made their way to the polls in droves on Election Day and made history. A record of roughly 12 million Latinos turned out to vote on Tuesday and for the first time made up 10 percent of the electorate. Election Day was a historic show of strength for the Latino community. As a friend of mine said, "we got on the electoral bus and took a front seat." Read the full article (Latino.FoxNews.com) >
El martes 6 de noviembre, los latinos en Nueva York y en todo el país demostramos nuestro poder al votar en esta elección histórica. Fuimos a las urnas el día de las elecciones como nunca antes y se hizo historia. Un récord de 12 millones de latinos votaron la semana pasada y por primera vez constituimos el 10% del electorado a nivel nacional. Como resultado, todos a través de las diferentes líneas partidistas buscan ahora ganar el favor de nuestra comunidad. Si ellos no nos prestaban atención antes, sin duda la están prestando ahora. Lea el artículo completo (manhattantimesnews.com) >
The voting population of Latinos has exploded to the point where Latinos will not only be a decisive force in the presidential election, but will likely affect the outcome of political contests from school boards and statehouses to Congress, according a new report by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Read the full article (CNN.com) >
In 2010, Gaby Pacheco was a frustrated college student planning a 1,055-mile protest walk from Florida to Washington, D.C.
The leaders and policy directors of most of the country's largest Latino Civil Rights organizations -- the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and others -- told Pacheco that the plan she had made with three other college students to march from South Florida, though the old South and to the capital, was an unreasonably dangerous "suicide mission" -- unlikely to move hearts and minds, or change public policy. Read the full article (HuffingtonPost.com) >
Several states with financial difficulties have moved quietly in recent years to reduce spending on college education by denying low tuition rates and financial aid to American citizens who are the children of illegal immigrants.
But in separate decisions over the past month, courts in New Jersey and Florida have rebuffed those efforts, adding new limits to the measures state officials can take to crack down on illegal immigrants by denying benefits to them and their families. Read the full article (NYTimes.com) >
Hispanic population growth and improved high school completion rates helped Latino young people become the largest minority group on college campuses and a fourth of the public school population last year, according to a Pew Hispanic report released Monday.
The center's analysis of Census data shows more than 2 million Hispanics ages 18 to 24 were enrolled in college last year, making up a record 16.5 percent share of enrollments in that age group at two-year and four-year universities. Read the full article (HuffingtonPost.com) >
Something big is happening in Philadelphia ahead of this fall’s presidential election – the first in the state since a stringent new Voter ID law was passed earlier this year – although people there concerned about it are having a maddeningly hard time putting their finger on the precise size of the problem. The city has just over 1 million registered voters. About 800,000 of them are considered "active."
"And about a third of them are on one of these two lists as potentially having ID problems," says Tom Boyer. He's a former journalist and computer scientist living in Philadelphia who has gotten involved in analyzing the potential impacts of Pennsylvania’s controversial law, which is now in the throes of a legal challenge. Boyer suspects that something historically bad could happen if the law isn’t overturned, and not enough people are talking about it. Read the full article (TheAtlantic.com) >
Hundreds of thousands of people who entered the United States as children but without documentation can apply -- beginning Wednesday -- to remain in and work in the country without fear of deportation for at least two years. Read the full article (ABCNews.com) >
Young undocumented immigrants are scrambling to get passports and other records in order as the Homeland Security Department starts accepting applications to allow them to avoid deportation and get work permits.
Homeland Security announced the details Tuesday of what forms undocumented immigrants would need to prove that they are eligible for the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The announcement came a day before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was set to begin letting people apply for the program. Read the full article (HuffingtonPost.com) >
Movimiento Hispano, a Hispanic Federation civic engagement initiative, was profiled by NBCLatino.com. Check out the video interview highlighting the critical importance of the Hispanic vote.
Watch the video here.
President Obama's bombshell announcement that deportation rules will be eased to allow some young, undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States and apply for work permits could play a strong role in the upcoming presidential election.
The lives of some 800,000 young immigrants were immediately changed by the new rule announced Friday, which allows them to avoid deportation, at least for the time being. Read the full article (ABC News) >
The Latino vote has been referred to as the "sleeping giant." That's because millions of Latinos are eligible to vote but have not yet registered. If they register and show up to the polls, that awoken giant could determine the 2012 presidential election.
In fact, in eight states, the number of potential Latino voters is greater than the margin of victory in the 2008 presidential election, according to an infographic released by the Center for American Progress Tuesday. Read the full article (HuffingtonPost.com) >
As President Obama heads into the main stretch of his re-election campaign, his immigration policies have produced few gains for Latinos, whose votes could be crucial for him in November.
The Department of Homeland Security reported last week that only about 4,400 deportations of illegal immigrants had been halted nationwide under a major initiative started a year ago.
The nation’s rapidly growing Latino population is one of the most powerful forces working in President Obama’s favor in many of the states that will determine his contest with Mitt Romney. But Latinos are not registering or voting in numbers that fully reflect their potential strength, leaving Hispanic leaders frustrated and Democrats worried as they increase efforts to rally Latino support.
Racial discrimination in voting is “one of the gravest evils that Congress can seek to redress,” Judge David Tatel wrote in a crucial ruling on Friday upholding the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. In extending the law in 2006, Congress did just that, after reviewing racial bias in the nine states and parts of several others that have deep histories of discrimination. These “covered jurisdictions” had long been required by Section 5 of the law to get permission from the Justice Department or a federal court before making any changes to their voting rules. Congress found that discriminatory practices were still persistent and pervasive in those jurisdictions, and that the preclearance requirement remained necessary.
If young voters were the breakout stars of the 2008 presidential election, then Latino voters may take center stage this year.
Every other week or so, it seems, a new poll gauges Latinos' opinions about the candidates, the issues and their level of engagement. Both parties are pouring millions into their Latino outreach. Latino politicians have assumed prominent roles in the conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties. And a Latino senator is on the short list of potential running mates for presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Field workers for President Obama’s campaign fanned out across the country over the weekend in an effort to confront a barrage of new voter identification laws that strategists say threaten the campaign’s hopes for registering new voters ahead of the November election.
Liberal activists on Wednesday criticized new voter registration requirements in dozens of states, saying millions of people could be deterred from voting in the November U.S. presidential election - a claim their opponents disputed.
The Center for American Progress issued a report that said new barriers to voting have been enacted by conservative state legislatures with the aim of disenfranchising voters from among certain groups such as low-income voters, minorities and college students. Those constituencies have tended to favor Democrats.
A controversial voter photo ID requirement will be on the ballot in Minnesota in November after the Republican-led legislature gave its approval on Wednesday. The legislature's move bypasses Democratic Governor Mark Dayton - who vetoed a voter ID bill last year - and puts the proposed amendment to the state's constitution directly in the hands of voters. State senators voted along party lines on Wednesday to put the measure on the ballot. The state's representatives gave their approval shortly after midnight.
An alarming decline in registered Hispanic voters has prompted Latino leaders to reassess voter registration drive strategies and to renew fundraising pleas for the efforts.
A coalition of Hispanic groups earlier this month announced a voter registration drive aimed at increasing Latino voters. The groups said their goal was to register 2 million new voters for the general election in November, bringing the total number of registered Latinos to 12 million.
Read the full article (HuffingtonPost.com) >
Minnesota's Republican-led legislature on Wednesday advanced plans to bypass Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and let voters decide if the state should adopt a controversial voter photo ID requirement that he rejected last year.
Voter fraud in the U.S. is one of two things: It's rampant and requires strict measures like photo IDs to stop it — or — it's a devious ploy to keep certain voters from the polls.
Sorting through the rhetoric — and finding common ground — is as difficult as getting Democrats and Republicans to agree on a tax policy.
Read the full article (CNBC) >
FOR THE SECOND TIME in three months, the Obama administration has blocked a state law pushed by Republicans that, using the pretext of a nearly nonexistent problem of voting fraud, discriminates against minority voters by establishing more stringent voter ID rules.
Memo to Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell: You might be next.
The first wave of destruction unleashed by Superstorm Sandy overwhelmed our senses with the fury of its wind and the rage of its surging waters.
The second one, though, is a quiet yet potentially lethal menace: Sandy covered the devastated landscapes of the New York and New Jersey coastlines with poisonous layers of chemicals, raw sewage and the perennial threat of mold.
And who is on the front line, dealing with Sandy's toxic legacy? It's thousands of Latino migrant laborers, most of them undocumented, eager to take any job available, who have flocked to the region on account of the huge demand for reconstruction labor. Read the full article (www.HuffingtonPost.com)
For some, the term “fiscal cliff” is a wonky phrase thrown around cable tv world. But it’s not an abstraction to Cynthia Rodriguez, who heads Congreso de Latinos Unidos, a multi-service non-profit in Philadelphia.
“What will Congress and the White House do to make sure families don’t lose access to refundable tax credits, and how to make sure gains and opportunities stay intact for the neediest families?” asked Rodriguez, who says the average Latino family her agency sees makes $20,000 a year, and lives in one of the country’s poorest – and hungriest – congressional districts. Rodriguez was one of hundreds of community service professionals who participated in a conference call sponsored by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) on the impact of the ‘fiscal cliff.’ Read the full article (NBCLatino.com)>
On Tuesday November 6th, Latinos here in New York and across the nation demonstrated their power by voting in this historic election. We headed to the polls on Election Day like never before and made history. A record 12 million Latinos voted last week and for the first time we made up 10% of the electorate nationwide. And as a result, everyone across party lines is plotting to win the favor of our community. If they weren’t paying attention before, they’re surely paying attention now. Read the full article (manhattantimesnews.com) >
Everyone agrees the importance of the Latino vote in this year’s close election all boils down to one thing: turnout. While the conventional wisdom has been that Latinos are not as enthusiastic about the election as in 2008, this is not what a new impreMedia-Latino Decisions tracking poll has found. Read the full article (HuffingtonPost.com) >
A record 23.7 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. This is up by more than 4 million, or 22%, since 2008, when 19.5 million Latinos were eligible to vote. Read the full report (PewHispanic.org) >
Hispanic Heritage Month will soon be upon us, and I'm reminded about the critical issues related to Latino cultural identity in this country.
As Director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, I received a request from a Latino student group at the University of Maryland, to speak to them on the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month. I've never done one of these before, so I accepted the invitation, figuring maybe they were looking for an elder perspective on Latino history and identity. I'm a little nervous about it. Read the full article (HuffingtonPost.com) >
The picture was classic fan meets superstar backstage. Lady Gaga in hot-pink lipstick, dark shades and a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “Pass the Dream Act,” stood flanked by two men. One had a serious grip on the singer’s waist.
But for those fighting for immigration relief and against state-level attempts to vigorously enforce immigration law, the photo taken at an August 2010 Lady Gaga concert in Arizona and widely shared online was a sign that young undocumented students and their core cause had scored a major victory, maybe even entered the mainstream. Read the full article (HuffingtonPost.com) >
On August 15, the first of perhaps a million or more people who qualify for the DREAM Act will begin stepping forward to apply and pay fees for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a form of temporary deportation relief for undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria. Each case will be evaluated individually, but I am encouraging those who meet the basic criteria to consider applying for DACA or at least get all the information they can about whether it is the right thing for them. Thousands will join me and Senator Dick Durbin, the author of the DREAM Act, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago at the Navy Pier for a workshop on the new program conducted by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and numerous local groups. Read the full article (HuffingtonPost.com) >
In an appeal to Latino voters, three Senate candidates in the Southwest are calling on delegates to the Democratic National Convention to make support of a bill to help young illegal immigrants gain citizenship a part of the party platform.
Rep. Martin Heinrich, the Democratic nominee for a Senate seat from New Mexico, is leading the effort and said that formally supporting the immigration proposal would provide voters with a clear choice on an issue that many care deeply about. Read the full article (NBCLatino.com) >
A Pennsylvania judge ruled Wednesday that a new Republican-supported state voter ID law could be implemented for Election Day, despite objections that it was a partisan attempt to hurt President Obama and could cost thousands of voters the right to cast ballots. Read the full article (WashingtonPost.com) >
Obama administration officials said Friday that they would begin on Aug. 15 to process applications from hundreds of thousands of young immigrants expected to seek two-year deferrals of deportation. Applicants will be charged $465 for each request.
Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that will handle the anticipated avalanche of paperwork, provided the first logistical details since President Obama announced on June 15 that he would halt deportations of illegal immigrants who came to the United States when they were children. Read the full article (NYTimes.com) >
June 27, 2012
Latino voters still strongly favor President Obama in November's election, two new polls say, but their level of enthusiasm is unclear, a data point that will probably redouble campaign efforts to rally Latino voters.
The president's announcement June 15 that he would allow undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay in the country, provided they meet certain criteria, created a big bump in support among Latinos, according to a poll released Wednesday by Latino Decisions and the left-leaning group America's Voice. The poll, which surveyed registered Latino voters in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia -- along with Arizona, which the president hopes to put in play -- found that Obama leads Romney by 63% to 27% in those states. Read the full article (LATimes.com) >
The Obama Administration announced a policy change on Friday to allow some undocumented young people to avoid deportation. Under a directive from the Department of Homeland Security, as many as 800,000 illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children will be permitted to stay in the country and legally obtain work permits.
The announcement will provide relief for “dreamers,” the group of undocumented students who have long fought for the right to stay in the U.S., which is in many cases the only country they have ever known. While the policy will not lead to citizenship for the dreamers, it removes the constant threat of deportation many of them have lived with for their entire lives. Read the full article (Time.com) >
Florida is one of a number of states to have recently imposed ill-considered restrictions on voting rights, as it interferes with efforts to register new voters and seeks to purge non-citizens from state voting rolls.
State officials, acting at the behest of Gov. Rick Scott (R), have scoured driver’s license and other records to identify non-citizens and have forwarded a list of 2,600 supposedly ineligible voters to local elections officials for further action. Chris Cate, a Florida Division of Elections spokesman, asserted that the division has “a duty under both state and federal laws to ensure that Florida’s voter registration rolls are current and accurate.” But the state also has a duty to ensure that those legally entitled to vote are not unjustly prevented from doing so. The last thing the state needs is another election tainted by questions of fairness.
Texas is preparing for a legal showdown next month in federal court over a new voter photo ID law passed by the Legislature.
The law was blocked by the Justice Department over claims that it discriminates against minority voters.
“We objected to a photo ID requirement in Texas because it would have had a disproportionate impact on Hispanic voters,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder explained to a conference of black clergy in a speech about the continued need of protections under the Voting Rights Act.
There is no doubt that Latinos are a growing political force in America. One out of every six Americans is Latino. Latinos are turning places such as North Carolina into new battleground states while remaining critical in Florida, Nevada and New Mexico.
The importance of the Latino vote is not lost on the presidential candidates. The Obama campaign is making an unprecedented outreach to Latinos, spending an estimated $1 million on Spanish-language advertising to date.
Much of this advertising and outreach has focused on reaching younger Latinos since Latinos are a very young population -- more than a third are under 18.
Less than two months after a Florida effort to identify and purge ineligible voters from the state's rolls began, opponents say it seems likely to disqualify a disproportionate share of eligible Latino voters.
About 180,000 people -- a group roughly equal to the population of Tallahassee, Fla. -- are at risk of being purged from the state's voter rolls because they have been identified as possible noncitizens, the Miami Herald reported. Looking at a smaller sample of 2,600 suspect voters initially identified by the state, the newspaper found about 58 percent to be Latino. Hispanic voters constitute just 13 percent of the state's electorate, according to federal data.
The conventional wisdom is that Mitt Romney has a problem with Latinos. The nation's fastest-growing voting bloc opted for President Obama by more than a two-to-one margin in 2008, and after a series of comments by Romney during the Republican primary alienated Latinos, Democrats hope to do even better this time around.
This past week, the decision by the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) to shut down its Public Safety and Elections Task Force, the task force that refined and promoted strict photo ID legislation that has been popping up in state legislatures over the past two years, was a significant victory for voting rights advocates. However, the damage is already done. Strict voter photo ID laws will be in place in several states this election, potentially disenfranchising millions if they don't get the ID they need to vote.
Last spring, Florida made some changes to its election law. Cloaked as technical tweaks, the new laws have the potential to swing the 2012 election.
When it comes to presidential elections, Florida matters. With 29 electoral votes, Florida is by far the most influential swing state in the country. Who gets to vote in Florida could determine who will win the election.
There are over 11 million registered voters in the state. But after the changes put in place last spring, there may be far fewer Floridians going to the polls in 2012.
A Wisconsin woman says her 87-year-old mother was disenfranchised in Tuesday's election after a poll worker demanded they provide photo identification, despite the suspension of a state voter ID law.
This month, Pennsylvania joined the ranks of Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin as states that have “strict photo ID” laws. Those states require voters to show a photo ID. Voters who cannot produce a photo ID at the polls are permitted to vote a provisional ballot, which is counted only if the voter returns to show a photo ID.
In an election year rush pushed primarily by Republicans, Pennsylvania has become the 16th state to adopt a strict voter photo ID law and the ninth state to do so in the past year.
The law requires voters to produce a Pennsylvania driver's license or another government-issued photo IphilD, such as a U.S. passport, military ID, or county/municipal employee ID. The state will also accept college ID or personal care home IDs, as long as they are current and include an expiration date.
A controversial law requiring Texas voters to show a photo ID at the polls remains unenforceable because it discriminates against Latinos, the Department of Justice said Monday.
In a letter to the Office of the Texas Secretary of State, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said registered Latino voters are almost twice as likely as non-Latinos not to have a photo identification.
Somewhere between 6.3 and 10.8 percent of registered Latino voters in Texas do not have a state-issued photo ID. The precise figure is not clear because the Texas state government sent the Justice Department two different sets of data about the state’s voters without indicating which was more accurate, the letter says.
Federal judges struck down two states’ voter ID laws today, throwing out government-issued identification requirements at the polls in both Texas and Wisconsin.
In Texas, the Justice Department ruled that the ID requirement would disproportionately affect the state’s Hispanic voters, 11 percent of which do not have the necessary identification and would thus not be able to vote.