Latino interest grows

Blocking of immigration relief drives Hispanics to the polls
Latino interest grows
Immigration is a very important issue for Latino voters.
Foto: Ciro Cesar / La Opinion

Given the confrontations between angry African Americans and local police, the question that has come up is: Where are the Latinos? If they also face discrimination, why haven’t we heard from them? A new Latino Decisions poll, which Pilar Marrero analyzed here, provides a partial answer.

Since June 23, when the U.S. Supreme Court derailed DACA and DAPA—because of a split decision that let a previous ruling against them stand—the willingness of Hispanic voters to participate in the political process increased to a historic 54%. This is higher than the 48% of Hispanics who voted in 2012 (30% of Latinos are unable to vote because they’re undocumented immigrants or non-citizen legal permanent residents).

This is the right reaction, a positive one. Our political system offers the best possible solution: voting—participating in our country’s civic life.

Obama’s executive actions on immigration could be reestablished through voting, paving the way for overall immigration reform.

While the court’s decision personally affected only 25% of poll participants, 80% of them support those who were affected: Dreamers and their parents.

Yes, there is a Latino awakening. It has been motivated by anti-immigrant legislation as well as Donald Trump’s threats of deporting all undocumented immigrants and the way that he has insulted Mexican-Americans.

This intent to participate is welcome.

Many Republicans who are moderate and well-meaning hope that Latinos, even if they reject Trump for president, will vote for them for Congressional seats and local government positions.

According to the poll, this may not happen.

Only 13% of participants think that the GOP cares about the Latino community.

We’re talking about informed voters; an impressive 82% of them recognize that their vote is important to the makeup of the Supreme Court.

They’re voters who have made up their minds: the undecided vote is extremely low, even though the elections are 118 days away.

They don’t like Trump: in November, 71% had a negative image of him.

In 2012, 71% of Latinos voted for Obama, versus 27% for Mitt Romney. Currently, only 16% of Latinos plan to vote for Trump, fewer than any Republican presidential candidate ever.

They know what matters to them: for years, there have been discussions of whether immigration is the most important issue for Latinos. In this poll, immigration is in first place, with 50%, followed by the economy in a distant second place (30%).

Other recent polls show similar results. There is hope that there will be widespread Latino participation in the elections, and that they will strengthen as the country’s most important emerging group.