Saturday, January 19, 2008

Day of Reckoning in Nevada

This is the day of consequences. The number one tenet we all learned as children was that there were always consequences to our behavior. Remember the "if you touch the burner on the stove you will be burned," "if you hit your brother you can't go out and play," "if you get home after midnight you can't go out tomorrow night,"

The outside world infringed on our lives when we went to school. If we misbehaved in class we were sent to detention. If we cheated on an exam we might be expelled.

Today in Nevada we will find out how Latino people feel about being called names; told they have leprosy, or that they have to return to Mexico (even though they are fourth generation Americans).

Even if it is not an immigrant voting - (believe it or not, there are some Latinos whose families have been here since before 1776- but I guess that doesn't count because they didn't live on the east coast) - many Latinos identify and have empathy for undocumented immigrants. They know about their grandparents being called greasers in the 1950s or the 1940s. They don't want these stories for their children - and will choose their vote accordingly.


New York Times
January 19, 2008

The Immigrant Vote

The Nevada caucuses today will be the first test of the mood of immigrant voters since comprehensive immigration reform was killed.

Nevada is the first state on the election calendar with a sizable Hispanic vote, and among them will be a substantial number of immigrants. We don’t know who they’ll choose, but we do know they are anxious. They have endured the racially tinged rhetoric used to sink immigration reform; they have witnessed Republican candidates exploiting the xenophobic nastiness. Families have been torn apart as illegal immigrants have been deported, leaving their citizen children behind.

Meanwhile, applications for citizenship have surged. About 1.4 million immigrants applied for citizenship in the fiscal year that ended in September, according to government estimates. That was double the number from the same period the year before. One motivation was a desire to beat a 66 percent increase in the application fee in July. But anxiety over the government’s crackdown on illegal immigrants and anger at Republicans’ efforts to make immigrants into the whipping boys of American politics, were big motivators. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials expects at least 9.3 million Hispanics to vote in November, 1.7 million more than in 2004. We hope the emergence of new immigrant voters will help temper the immigration debate.

President Bush largely got it right on immigration. He recognized the hard-working nature of immigrants, even those who arrived illegally. He said the nation needed a path to legal status. According to exit polls, Mr. Bush drew about 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 — a record for a Republican presidential candidate.

But just one current Republican contender, John McCain, offers anything but lock-step allegiance to the enforcement-only approach now. In a poll late last year by the Pew Hispanic Center, only 23 percent of Latinos identified themselves as Republicans, down from 28 percent in 2006. Hispanics who identified themselves as Democrats surged from 49 percent to 57 percent.

The Latino voters’ group expects Hispanics to account for 11 percent of the vote in Nevada, a state that Mr. Bush — with 39 percent of the Hispanic vote — won by a mere 2.6 percentage points in 2004.

It is of utmost importance that the government deal promptly with the flurry of new citizenship applicants. Mr. Bush has agreed to a proposal from Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, to do just that. Still, immigration authorities expect waits of 18 months, which would prevent many applicants from becoming citizens in time for the November election.

The citizenship and voter registration drive in immigrant communities should be celebrated by both parties.
photo: ttp://

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