America's Voice

What Will the 2012 Electorate Look Like?

New polling released by Washington Post/ABC News shows that while Americans remain frustrated with the status quo on immigration, they don’t think Mitt Romney would do a better job on the issue than Barack Obama.  The poll also shows that the general public is animated by issues other than immigration—something we’ve been pointing out for months—with two glaring exceptions: the small group of hardliners who dislike immigrants, and the growing group of Latino and naturalized citizen voters who have a personal connection to the policy debate.  State-by-state analysis of the potential composition of the electorate from leading demographic and polling experts Ruy Teixeira and William Frey shows that the share of the electorate that cares deeply about pro-immigrant policies is significant and growing.

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The 12 Most Outrageous Statements Politicos Have Made About Immigration During the 2010 Campaign

The 2010 midterm campaign season is shaping up to be the most vicious, vitriolic election cycle in recent memory.  The issue of immigration is a perfect example.  Distortions, lies and stereotypes dominate the airwaves when it comes to immigrants and Latinos. From threats of violence against immigrants to calls for mass deportation, candidates across the country are unleashing a torrent of hate speech that is both alarming and un-American.

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Do I Look Undocumented To You?

Imagine every cop in your state was forced to do their job like that controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio or risk getting sued?

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The Republican Choice on Immigration And Latino Outreach

As we’ve discussed before, Republicans are facing a major fork in the road over immigration issues. 

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A Moment of Truth on Immigration Reform

The tipping point is here. The time has come. In all political and social movements there comes a moment when the confluence of events is so powerful they just can’t be ignored or dismissed. The long-running effort for comprehensive immigration reform is one such movement and its moment of truth is at hand. 

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Cooking the Books on Latino Support for Mass Deportation

This week the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the “think tank” of the anti-immigrant lobby, announced the results of a new CIS-sponsored Zogby poll purporting to show that people of color, including Latinos, support their mass-deportation, anti-immigrant agenda.

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American Apparel Sticks Up for Immigrant Workers Swept Up in ICE Raids

As the holidays rapidly approach, our focus shifts to shopping, cooking and decking the halls for the invasion of relatives. But, as we hit the shops, we often forget to take a moment to think about the origins of our chic outfits and abounding feasts (those of us lucky enough to still have these).

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Immigration Hardliners Gearing Up to Kill Pragmatic Reform Once Again

While Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has called supporters of immigration reform to participate in a national conversation on Nov. 18, the anti-immigrant organization Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) is holding “Tea Party” protests in various states this Saturday.

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DHS Renews Deal With Show-Boat Sheriff Arpaio

From America's Voice:

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Congressman Insults Entire Community By Praising Postville Raid

Today, in a Des Moines Register op-ed, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) claimed the Postville raid was a "step in the right direction" for our immigration policy.  He applauded deportation-only "solutions" to illegal immigration, which he claimed would  "help protect American workers and local communities."

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Bush Administration Makes Yet Another Ill-Conceived Midnight-Hour Policy Change

Washington, DC -- The Bush administration has announced regulatory changes to the H2-A agricultural guestworker program that remove protections for workers and make it easier for employers to bring in foreign workers. The changes were revealed on the Department of Labor's (DOL) website and are being proposed by DOL and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). They include reducing obligations for growers to recruit U.S. workers before applying to bring in foreign guestworkers, lowering the wage rate requirements by changing the program's wage formula and removing the already insufficient government oversight of the program. Below is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice:

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Latino Vote Fueling Republican Introspection

As post-election analysis from pundits moves from discussing how the Latinos turned out in favor of Democrats at historic levels in 2008 to analyzing why this shift occurred, many have recognized that immigration was the driving factor behind Latino mobilization and their break towards Democratic candidates.

The Latino vote comprised 9 percent of the electorate nationwide in 2008, a figure that totals over 11 million voters. This turnout represents a jump of over 3 million voters since 2004, when 7.6 million Latinos cast ballots, and is approximately double the Latino turnout of 2000. Ominously for Republicans, the Latino vote broke overwhelmingly Democratic in 2008. After supporting Democratic candidate John Kerry by a 56-44 percent margin against George W. Bush in 2004, Latinos gave Democratic candidate Barack Obama their support at a 67-31 percent margin against John McCain. As the New York Times showed, Latinos' movement towards Democrats was one of the biggest demographic shifts from 2004 to 2008.

The reason behind this shift, according to political pundits and strategists of both parties, was the Republicans' tarnished brand related to the issue of immigration. As Latino polling expert Sergio Bendixen stated, "the debate over immigration started driving Hispanic voters toward the Democratic party, and the economic black hole clinched it."

Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), stated on NBC's "Meet the Press" that "the very divisive rhetoric of the immigration debate set a very bad tone for our brand as Republicans...there were voices within our party, frankly, which if they continue with that kind of rhetoric, anti-Hispanic rhetoric, that so much of it was heard, we're going to be relegated to minority status."

Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson, in a column highlighting why Republicans must shift directions to stay viable electorally, stated: "here's the truly ominous trend for the Republicans: Hispanic voters nationwide chose Obama over McCain by 67 percent to 31 percent. This is a huge shift from 2004, when George Bush won an estimated 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, and the trend was instrumental in moving states such as Florida, Nevada and Colorado into the Democratic column last Tuesday. How did the Republicans manage this feat? By blocking sensible immigration reform and appealing to the red-meat conservative base with rhetoric that could only be taken as xenophobic. Hispanics constitute the nation's biggest and fastest-growing minority. Apparently they have no place in the "center-right America" of Republican fantasy."

William McKenzie, editorial columnist for the Dallas Morning News, examined the subset of the Latino Evangelical vote and concluded that "it's safe to say enough Latino evangelicals marched away from the GOP to matter in states such as Florida and Colorado. Barack Obama won there after George W. Bush prevailed in 2004." McKenzie quoted prominent Latino Evangelical leader, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who said "Immigration, and immigration only, cost Republicans. The Pat Buchanans drove Latino evangelicals away with scary rhetoric about immigration during Congress' recent debates on the subject." McKenzie concluded his column by stating, "the GOP can't keep narrowing itself, forcing out minority voters. The party either expands or shrinks into irrelevancy."

It wasn't just the Latino electorate who voted in favor of common sense and humane immigration policies. Many non-Latino voters refused to support leading anti-immigrant crusaders such as Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), Thelma Drake (VA-02), Lou Barletta (running for Rep. Kanjorski's seat in PA-11), and Virgil Goode (VA-5) and, in many other close races across the country, supported candidates with practical approaches to immigration reform.

"The Republican Party is at a cross-roads, and for reasons of both good policy and good politics, they need to get on the right side of the immigration issue," said Lynn Tramonte, Policy Director at America's Voice. "Mainstream voters want real results, and they support common sense immigration reform, not demagoguery. Clearly the Republican Party thought they could ride the anti-immigrant train into November and win, but Latino voters and other swing groups have derailed that train," she concluded.

For more election analysis of the Latino vote, see:

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