David Dayen reports for Firedoglake, in Latino Vote Could Hinge On Immigration Reform Efforts:
On a conference call yesterday put together by America’s Voice, immigration reform advocates released a study called “The Power of the Latino Vote,” looking at this constituency and their impact on the 2010 midterms. Despite having swung to Democrats decidedly in 2008, almost single-handedly giving Nevada, Colorado and Florida to Barack Obama over John McCain, a substantial portion of the Latino electorate, foreign-born but naturalized US citizens, has shown the propensity to switch parties from election to election.
Earlier this week, the organization I head, America’s Voice, released a new report entitled, “The Power of the Latino Vote in America: They Tipped Elections in 2008; Where Will they be in 2010?”
The detailed findings highlight the many potential benefits – and potential perils – for both major political parties. The report tracks 40 races for 2010 in 12 states—29 U.S. House races, 8 U.S. Senate races and 3 gubernatorial races—and shows that Latino voter turn out as well as the candidates’ positions on immigration reform will a huge impact on the outcomes.
Today, America’s Voice is releasing a new report that chronicles how, over the past decade, Latino voters have steadily increased their political power, and made a decisive impact in races at all levels, including the Presidency. In 2010, Latino voters are poised to play a crucial role in key House and Senate races across the country. While trending Democratic overall, at least one segment of the Latino electorate—foreign-born, naturalized U.S. citizens of Latino descent who represent 40% of the Latino voter population—has proven to be a true swing constituency. The outcome of the upcoming debate on comprehensive immigration reform will determine how – and if – this group of Americans votes in 2010 and beyond.
Representative Mike Honda and Sonia Manzano, who most people know as Maria on Sesame Street, wrote an article, which was published today in the Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call, voicing their support for comprehensive immigration reform. They write:
The tide seems to be turning in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, despite populist trends that might suggest otherwise.
America’s Voice is launching an online ad campaign to encourage Americans to contact Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and demand that he remove his name from a controversial immigration resolution, H.Res. 1026– the so-called “BRIDGE Resolution.” Murphy has come under fire from religious, progressive, and community leaders for joining with the virulently anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to co-sponsor the resolution. The BRIDGE Resolution has been dubbed the “Bridge to Nowhere” by those tired of politicians who offer symbolic “get-tough” measures but refuse to roll up their sleeves and pass bipartisan legislation that would truly fix our broken immigration system.
Andrea Nill reports at the Wonk Room on White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ statements yesterday evening, responding to growing criticism that President Obama did not say enough about immigration during his State of the Union address last week. Here is the video of Gibbs’ comments: “I think the President’s position on immigration reform and what he supports is enormously clear. He campaigned on it, he worked on legislation I think is quite similar to what would come up this year in the House or the Senate with people like John McCain or Lindsey Graham in 2005 and 2006 in the Senate. Like climate change there are bipartisan efforts that are ongoing to bring legislation like this to the fore and to create bipartisan majorities to get it passed. The president hosted a meeting here not too long ago to keep that process going and we look forward to taking part in it.”
Yesterday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez sent a political warning to his fellow Democrats: If immigration reform doesn’t pass, as promised, Latinos won’t vote.
Without progress, the congressman warned that many Latinos would stay home from the polls.
According to exit polls, Obama received 70% of the Latino vote in 2008, boosting him to victory in the swing states of Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Florida.
Following the President’s brief mention of immigration reform in the State of the Union Address, bloggers and pundits have begun the postmortems. But advocates in D.C. say that while the election of Scott Brown last month, coupled with the continuing poor economy, have made the job of reforming immigration laws tougher, there may still be an opening for legislation to pass, says the Washington Post.
Yesterday Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina, stood up for a comprehensive fix to our badly damaged immigration system. Graham has been crafting bipartisan legislation with Senator Schumer for some time now, and details of the bill are expected soon.
Obama didn’t say the three words, but words, like promises, are cheap. We’re left waiting for concrete action from the White House and Congress on the immigration front—actions that would speak louder than a thousand words.