Latino and immigrant voters played a decisive role in yesterday’s election by delivering four key battleground states to Senator Barack Obama, lifting many pro-solution members of the House and Senate to victory, and defeating anti-immigrant legislators. While Latinos care about the same major issues most Americans do, the issue of immigration both drove them to the polls and helped push this fastest-growing voting bloc to support Democratic candidates in 2008.

With its unprecedented size and level of political engagement this cycle, the Latino vote has grown into one of the most important voting blocs to monitor on Election Day. Here are some key numbers related to the Latino vote to keep in mind when monitoring tonight’s election returns: The Latino vote is expected to increase from 7.6 million in 2004 to 9.2 million this year – an increase of 1.6 million…

With its unprecedented size and level of political engagement this cycle, the Latino vote has grown into one of the most important voting blocs to monitor on Election Day, especially in key battleground states. “Tomorrow’s elections will show that Latino and immigrant voters have arrived as a potent political force with the ability to tilt elections,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “These voters have a real stake in this country and are eager to make their voices heard.”

But what will drive new Latino voters to the polls in record numbers is the immigration debate. This is because immigration has emerged as the “threshold” issue for many Latino voters. Like civil rights for African-American voters, the immigration debate distinguishes those candidates who get that Latinos are hard working Americans from those whose rhetoric suggests that Latinos are dangerous outsiders.”

“Our analysis shows that Latino and immigrant electorate is growing, is highly mobilized, and is strongly influenced by the immigration debate,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “Clearly, both campaigns get how important these voters are, and how important immigration is as an issue. This is why they are slugging it out in Spanish language ad wars in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Florida over which candidate is more strongly in favor or comprehensive immigration reform.”

Despite its conspicuous absence during the presidential debate season thus far, the issue of immigration remains one of the most significant issues responsible for mobilizing and energizing the growing Latino vote. A new poll from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund finds “tremendous enthusiasm” among Latino voters in the key battleground states of CO, FL, NM, and NV, as nearly 90% of Latino voters say they will vote on November 4th

By attributing the failures of Wall Street to immigrants and specifically Latinos, Krikorian joined Michelle Malkin in trying to perpetuate a blatant falsehood and continued recent attempts to blame immigrants and Latinos for any and all hot-button policy issues. Conservative law professor and blogger Stephen Bainbridge succinctly captured the ridiculousness of Krikorian and Malkin, saying, “The freezing up of the credit markets doesn’t have anything to do with either affirmative action or illegal immigration, and people who believe it does are on a par with the conspiracy theorists who think flouridation is a Chicom plot.”

This week, new developments in states where immigration policy and politics are most salient reinforce the importance of the issue on Election Day and the need for common sense immigration reform. A broad coalition of voices in the key battleground states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico highlighted the failures of our current approach to immigration policy, previewed the power of the Latino vote and the immigration issue on November 4th, and called for immigration reform legislation to fix our broken system.