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.

The latest installment of the popular right-wing “blame the immigrants,” game is a whopper. Conservative blogger, occasional television pundit, and consistent right wing loudmouth Michelle Malkin is — get ready — blaming illegal immigration for our nation’s current economic crisis. No joke. Neither Wall Street greed nor irresponsible government oversight over the financial industry are responsible. Just immigrants.

Today, leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives will hold two important hearings to examine the Bush Administration’s failure to uphold labor standards, and the need for common sense immigration reform. Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA) is also hosting a Congressional briefing to explore the impact of the Agriprocessors raid on the women and children of Postville, IA. The briefing will feature representatives from the Postville community who have been working with families separated by the immigration raid, along with experts in labor law and women in the workplace.