Election 2014  
comments_image Comments

Moyers: The Rise of Hispanic America

The growing electoral clout of the Latino constituency is getting harder for national politicians to ignore.

Continued from previous page

 
 
Share

Here we are talking about immigrants and about the Latino community and we focus, you know, only on the undocumented immigrants. And I think that that's what's happened that when people perceive Latinos the first thing that pops into their mind immigrants and undocumented immigrants, or like they say illegal aliens, which is a term we don't like to use. But they don't realize that 74 percent are Americans, are citizens either by birth or naturalized. So the majority of Latinos are Americans.

And we have a buying power of over $1 trillion. If Latinos in the U.S. were a country we would be the 14th largest economy in the world. There are 2.5 million businesses that are Latino-owned or Hispanic-owned, whichever word you'd like to use. So we are a very important part of this country and we contribute very much to the economy, to, you know, culturally in so many different ways.

BILL MOYERS: But something significant happened in 2010. I understand 9/11 changing the tone and the conversation. But what happened that moved the Republicans and the conservatives further to the margins?

JORGE RAMOS: I think it was Arizona. It was Arizona. It was the realization that we were not going to get immigration reform and therefore the states thought that they needed to take action by themselves.

JAN BREWER: Senate Bill 1070 absolutely mirrors federal law, and we are being invaded by illegal immigration in the state of Arizona.

JORGE RAMOS: And then we had Joe Arpaio—

BILL MOYERS: The sheriff in Mariposa County?

JORGE RAMOS: Uh-huh, and then we have—

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And we have some--

JORGE RAMOS: --Governor Jan Brewer.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: --some very conservative-- radio talk show hosts that have so much influence that they also changed the conversation and change the tone.

JORGE RAMOS: Yes, there's a possibility for the Republican Party to reach Latinos as you mentioned because of the values. They feel very close to the Republican Party because of certain values. But somehow the Republicans had a wonderful opportunity in these years, 2012 and they blew it because they had a president who didn't keep his promise on immigration. A president who has deported more immigrants than any other president in the history of the United States, 1.5 million in the--

BILL MOYERS: Obama has deported that many?

JORGE RAMOS: Exactly. So and then Republicans instead of taking this and taking advantage of the situation and saying, "You know, we're going to be the pro-immigrant party, we're going to try to legalize 11 million or do something about it," instead of doing that they're talking about…

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Self-deportation.

JORGE RAMOS: --Arizona being the model, self-deportation, rejecting the DREAM Act and—

BILL MOYERS: What does it mean, self-deportation?

JORGE RAMOS: Make life impossible--

BILL MOYERS: How so?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It's like they're doing in Arizona. They make life so difficult for you. You can't find a job, you can't. If possible you can't get housing. Your children as they go to school will have their background checked and you will just go back because you can't live here, you can't get a job, you can't live, you feel all this pressure. I think that's what he means by self deport.

JORGE RAMOS: Arizona being the model, self-deportation, rejecting the Dream Act and now you see the latest Latino decisions poll, 73 percent support President Barack Obama and only 21 percent support Mitt Romney. And if there's a magic number it's 33 percent.