Latinos represent 21.1% of California’s registered voters and Latino turnout has increased greatly over the past decade. When Proposition 187 was enacted in 1994, it created a backlash among Latino voters who turned against the state Republican Party that championed the measure. Since then, Republican candidates have struggled to compete with Democrats over this demographic group, which has become critical to winning statewide elections.

In what is expected to be a very close race, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is running for reelection in 2010 against Sharon Angle, a Republican candidate supported by the Minuteman PAC. Nevada was one of the key Democratic pickups in the 2008 Presidential contest, where the Latino vote was a crucial factor.

Despite the media hype, spending on immigration enforcement has steadily climbed since 2002 and continues to skyrocket in President Obama’s administration. The following chart shows that spending for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) increased from fiscal year 2002, at almost $7.5 billion, to fiscal year 2010 over $17 billion.

On April 29, 2010, Senators Reid, Durbin, Schumer, Menendez, and Feinstein released a draft proposal for comprehensive immigration reform. The following is a summary of the core elements: border security, interior enforcement, employment verification, legal immigration reforms, and registration of undocumented workers.

Talk show host and former Congressman J.D. Hayworth has become nationally known as an expert practitioner in driving Latinos away from the Republican Party, and failing to inspire the confidence of swing voters. His primary challenge to Senator John McCain is emblematic of a tug-of-war happening in the Republican party today: far-right candidates are edging out practical reformers who can potentially deliver real solutions for a party whose name has been tarnished by years of anti-immigrant campaigning.

From faith to labor to law enforcement, more and more voices are demanding action on comprehensive immigration reform for the good of their communities and constituencies. Even more significantly, the country’s demographics have shifted dramatically and Latino voters who care deeply about this issue have increased their political clout.

The series, in eight thematic installments and an introduction, discusses the roles played in the urgent battle for reform by law enforcement; undocumented students; anti-immigrant groups; the pro-immigrant movement; faith communities; farmers and agricultural laborers; business and labor interests; and, of course, the defining actors: the White House, Senate and House of Representatives.

In recent months, some of the most anti-immigrant Members of Congress have been taking advantage of hard economic times to argue that blocking comprehensive immigration reform would somehow help the American worker. But a closer look at the voting records of these Members shows them to be some of the most consistent opponents of legislation benefiting American workers.

Under Krikorian, the Center for Immigration Studies, whose core mission is to reduce immigration to the United States, routinely blames immigrants for everything from “voter fraud” to “global warming.” Krikorian figures prominently in the network of anti-immigrant, extremist organizations founded by a man with clear ties to white nationalism: John Tanton.

In the Senate, Sessions takes every opportunity to denounce comprehensive immigration reform, often in incendiary terms. The leading GOP Senator on the Judiciary Committee has aligned himself with people who bash immigrants and prioritize hate.