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Jun 27, 2012 by JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
How much does immigration really matter to Hispanic voters? A roundup is HERE.
I think it’s possible that it’s not so much immigration itself so much as whether or not someone view it as an indicator of a general attitude towards Latinos. It’s whether or not a Latino thinks it’s really about illegal immigration or prejudice.
Depends on the Hispanic and their position in life. Someone who lives around and interacts with immigrants is likely to be ignited by pro-immigration policies. Someone far removed from this situation is more likely to be apathetic than their counterpart who is more in tune to the plight of immigrants.
But there is another issue; The GOP has gained a reputation of outright bigotry and the current split between the parties certainly drives Hispanics (and other minorities) to the Democratic party (the Southern Strategy is still alive and kicking ).
Yes, in general, jobs trump immigration. But Romney has yet to convince America that he can/will do a better job. His record at Bain Capital shows he was more of a wealth creator often at the expense of the typical worker. The semblance of a jobs plan he’s put together has not received high marks from agencies like Moody’s Analytics.
So, while jobs WILL likely trump immigration for most Hispanics, immigration could likely be the tie breaker.
Of course immigration is important to many (most?) Latin@s. Jobs and health care may trump it as an issue. The big problem for the GOP is that every time it comes up (and it does, of course, need attention as an issue), the GOP leadership just can’t help themselves from being virulently racist and insulting. So even if a large portion of Latin@s aren’t that hung up on immigration policy per se, it’s really hard to support a party that clearly dispises the existence of your race.
Jim, you hit it. We’re not monolithic. Some Latino groups (and there are many kinds, Cubanos, El Salvadorians, Mejicanos by province of origin, all of the communities that came from the many nations of central and south America) are of different educations and economic background/foregrounds. Many are sympathetic or caught in the immigration mess made by Congress which needed to be fixed effectively at least 15 years ago, and wasnt, isnt. But more so, there is the cringe factor. Anytime ANY person starts to speak about Latinos or Mexicans, we hold our breaths for moments, waiting to hear whether this is going to be benign, supportive, ignorant, or scornful of us.
The aggression in words and deeds doesnt necessarily come only the from GOP, although that is THE stronghold it seems, daily, the source of some of the most outspoken, inhumane sewer of scorn for us. We still remember Mayor Nagin of NOLA and his words when Mejicanos came to help after Katrina and risked their lives in the literally contaminated waters to help everyone, and Nagin’s racist words burned into many of us.
However, too, depending on where one lives, how one lives, how immigrants of any kind use land, resource, their customs, their lacks of understanding yet others’ customs, this will more so bring different Latinos to different or same conclusions about immigration from the South. There are many other immigrants in the US without papers or on expired visas, estimated over 10,000 Irish in nyc area, alone.
Thanks Joe, for the thoughtful article.
Andrew Greely (Catholic, liberal priest) had addressed illegal immigration of Irish in many of his novels. He has a refreshing view of the situation (SPOILER ALERT: usually the gov’t enforcers are incompetent or worse).
I lived in LA during the protests that came after the House passed that horrific bill that sent everyone into the streets. You better believe Latinos cares… and you better believe that it changes how they felt about Republicans and white people in general, at least temporarily. There was new tension between my Latino acquaintances and myself after that bill passed. It eventually passed, but I could feel it for sure.
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