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2008 will be the year of the immigrant and Latino voter. Unprecedented numbers of immigrants are becoming citizens and registering to vote and the stakes—for candidates and voters—could not be higher.
The road to the White House passes through key “battleground” states with large numbers of Latino and immigrant voters like Florida, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico. These voters are also flexing their muscle in Senate and House races across the nation. While Latinos care about the economy, jobs, healthcare and national security like every other American, a candidate’s stance on immigration reform has become a threshold question for many Latinos. As the immigration debate has heated up these last few years, they are paying closer attention to how candidates engage on the issue. To them, it is not just a question of visas but values and whether they and their families feel welcomed in the United States. As Cecilia Muñoz, Senior Vice President at the National Council of La Raza recently said, immigration “tends to determine who the good guys are and the bad guys are for Latinos.”
Analysis of current data on Latino and immigrant voters shows that this group is growing, mobilized, and passionately supportive of comprehensive immigration reform.