Virginia Latino Electorate Pivotal in State Elections

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In this week’s Virginia race, the Latino community demonstrated that it is a powerful voting block and that candidates running for elected office would be well served to avoid anti-immigrant rhetoric which marginalizes Latinos, according to LULAC.

The Latino community’s message has been consistent – immigration reform is personal to us, and we will stand united in ensuring that all Latinos have an opportunity to live the American Dream.

In this week’s Virginia race, the Latino community came out to vote in large numbers and demonstrated that it is a powerful voting block and that candidates running for elected office would be well served to avoid anti-immigrant rhetoric which marginalizes Latinos, according to LULAC. It would also behoove them to remember that 87% of all Latinos are within 2 generations away from being an immigrant.

“The Latino community’s message has been consistent – immigration reform is personal to us, and we will stand united in ensuring that all Latinos have an opportunity to live the American Dream,” said LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes.

According to a poll which was conducted on November 5 Election Day in Virginia by Latino Decisions, approximately 53% of Latinos pointed to policies such as immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and a Virginia DREAM Act as being a driving force in making their decision to vote.

In order to ensure that the Latino community voted, LULAC utilized a multi-pronged approach to reach Virginia Latino voters which included providing information regarding voting times and poll locations. Also, LULAC organized voter registration drives, and a phone banking center that targeted Latino voters in Fairfax, Prince William County, and the Richmond area. LULAC’s effort also included reaching out to hundreds of Latinos through the use of emails, social media, and text messaging reminding voters to vote on November 5. Finally, LULAC worked with the Labor Council of Latin American Advancement in order to ensure that the polls were well monitored.

As the end of the year draws near and the days on the legislative calendar run down, the Latino community is paying close attention to how elected officials are talking about immigration reform and more importantly what they’re doing to make it a reality for 11 million undocumented people. To that end, LULAC calls on Speaker Boehner to bring HR 15 to a vote on the House Floor. LULAC believes the Virginia gubernatorial race is a perfect example of what a candidate that spurs anti-immigrant rhetoric can expect, and Congress should take note because the 2014 midterm elections are around the corner.

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Paloma Zuleta
LULAC
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