As Congress breaks and the 2010 campaigns heat up, political observers are wondering how exactly the immigration debate will impact the upcoming mid-term elections.
On a press conference call held yesterday, experts on Latino voter political engagement and immigration reform discussed the findings of the Latino Decisions polling and efforts by organizations such as Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign to turn out immigrant and Latino voters in November.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice and moderator of the call:
“The immigration debate and both parties’ handling of the issue is clearly having a major effect on Latino mobilization efforts. The million dollar question for 2010 will be whether Latinos’ recent uptick in enthusiasm for Democrats and continued view of Republicans as anti-immigrant supersedes traditionally low levels of Latino turnout in mid-term elections, and lingering frustration from Latino voters that immigration reform hasn’t been more of a priority in Congress.”
Ben Monterroso, Executive Director of Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign, discussed efforts to mobilize Latino voters, including “low-propensity” voters in states such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, and Texas. He argued:
Our community wants results on immigration reform. The Latino community knows that our vote is our voice – and if we don’t exercise our vote and hold elected officials accountable, some politicians will continue to attack our community.