WHAT IS THE LATEST WITH IMMIGRATION AND THE ELECTION?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

This has been a historic week on immigration policy in an election year.

If upheld, the Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona “show me your papers” provision would have a huge mobilizing effect on Latino voters.  At the Supreme Court’s Arizona v. United States hearing on Wednesday, the narrow legal focus of the proceedings and Justices’ related discussion led many commentators to speculate that the “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law would likely stand.  A ruling to uphold the law would not only unleash widespread discrimination in Arizona and other states with copycat legislation, it would mobilize Latino voters and other voters for whom the immigration debate is important and viewed through a personal lens.  Regardless of the outcome, the ruling will have major political ramifications in 2012 presidential race.
Coming in the heat of a race in which Democrats hope for huge Latino turnout and Republicans hope for just the opposite, the decision will draw a sharp contrast between a President who fought the Arizona law and a Republican nominee who supports it.

“Will Mitt Etch-a-Sketch on immigration?”

Probably not, but if he does, it won’t work. In diagnosing Mitt Romney’s problem with Latino voters, many commentators have concluded that Romney will tack toward the middle on immigration. We beg to differ. He may come up with some legal immigration package designed to soften his image a bit, but it’s our view that he has pandered too much and too recently to the nativist minority in the GOP to flip flop now. The last thing the Romney campaign wants is a fight with the right over immigration combined with a week of stories about his “Etch-a-Sketch” on immigration. And if we are wrong and he does shift positions, would it work? We think not. He’s already branded with Latino voters.  As Ron Brownstein notes of recent polling, “Obama’s share of the vote among Latinos notably exceeds his approval rating with them.
That’s a telling measure of how much Romney has alienated those voters, because it’s unusual for a president to poll much above his approval rating with any group.”  And Latino voters are not stupid.  They are not going to fall for a little general election shuffle.  Just ask Meg Whitman.  Some salt and pepper for the stew: Andrew Sullivan predicts Romney will stay hard right here; Michael Tomasky thinks Romney will bust a move to the center but argues it wouldn’t work here.

Marco Rubio’s DREAMs: looking past 2012 to 2016? 

                                                                           Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

The chatter surrounding Senator Marco Rubio’s impending legislation modeled on the DREAM Act has reached a fever pitch. Much of the commentary focuses on what Rubio and the DREAM legislation might mean for Romney in 2012 and Rubio’s chances in the Veepstakes.  Again, we beg to differ.  We doubt Rubio will be the VP choice and we believe he has a longer-term vision in mind. Our take is that Rubio knows Romney is cooked with Latino voters and is already focused on Republican Party’s post-2012 effort to repair its image among Latino voters.  Eventual passage of a Rubio-championed DREAM Act would indeed help Rubio’s chances to be the leader of a more Latino-friendly GOP going into 2016.

Pundits and insiders agree – immigration helping Democrats and hurting Republicans:

photo source Getty Images

What a difference a few years makes.  During 2005 and 2006, many Republicans thought they would reap the political rewards of using a hard line immigration stance as a wedge issue.  Though post-election analyses in 20062008, and 2010 showed that a hardline immigration position did not help politically, and in many cases hurt candidates politically, it seems as though the conventional wisdom has finally caught up with the election results.  A National Journal’s political Insiders generally agreed across the aisle that the issue of immigration stands to help Democrats and hurt Republicans in the November elections.  Almost half of the Democratic Insiders said the immigration issue would “help a little” while a little more than a third said it would “help a lot.” Among the Republican insiders, more than half believed immigration would “hurt a little,” a handful predicted it would “hurt a lot,” while three in ten said the issue would have “no effect.”

Read More: America’s Voice

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ARE LATINOS THE CONSUMER POWERHOUSE RESHAPING AMERICA?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Studio Gang Architects + Joseph Lekas Photography

This Easter weekend I went to an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York called “Foreclosure: Rehousing The American Dream,” a fascinating view into what the future of urban and suburban housing in America could look like. For this exhibit, five architectural teams proposed how they would re-invest the TARP money of 2008 to revitalize foreclosure-ravaged suburbs near five major cities in the United States.

I came away feeling most impressed about the transformational impact that Latinos are already having on this country and wondering if most companies are really prepared for what is around the corner. I was most impressed with how clearly they understood the demographic impact of both the rise of Hispanics as a mega buying force in the home-buyer market.

Photographs by Don Pollard.

While Hispanics were certainly not the focus of this exhibit, their impact on four of the five places featured could not be denied. From Rialto, Calif., to Cicero, Ill., where 88% of the population is Hispanic, Latino attitudes about homeownership were not only prominently featured and discussed by architects, but also helped frame the developing of what the exhibit calls the “national conversation on issues of housing, transportation, and public space.”

When I got home, I remembered that I had recently downloaded the latest report on the State of Hispanic Homeownership, published in March by The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and found that, in spite of also being hit by the housing crisis between 2007 and 2010, they too were predicting a new Latino housing mega trend.

“Over the next 10 years, Hispanics are expected to account for 40 percent of the estimated 12 million net new households, with minorities comprising 70 percent of total growth,” says Alejandro Becerra, author of the report. Unlike other groups, Latinos have not been big on saving for retirement. This is partly due to a cultural legacy that, hopefully, should change over the next few decades. Our American Dream has always mainly revolved around buying a home and depending on family to take care of us.
“An unrelenting drive to succeed combined with strong family values and larger family sizes fuel their yearning for a place to call home,” says Becerra. “This strong work ethic, often combined with a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, adds up to major consumerism. The Hispanic market made up over 50 percent of real growth in the U.S. consumer economy from 2005 to 2008, with $52 billion in new spending.”

According to the Census, Hispanics are already a significant segment of the workforce. “The role of Latinos in the nation’s labor force in the manufacturing, construction, real estate and service industries is both monumental and crucial. For well over a decade, Hispanics have also had the highest labor force participation in the nation. Currently, 66.7% of all working-age Latinos are employed, nearly three percentage points higher than the rest of the U.S. population,” adds Becerra.

And while many Baby Boomers are expected to age in place, the NAHREP report says that “current mobility rates suggest that 3.8 million baby boomers could downsize over the coming decade, adding further to the demand for compact, lower-cost homes.” As a result, smart start-ups like Boomerator,Southeast Discovery and GetawayStyle are all setting up to cater to the needs of this huge demographic shift.

But I don’t see the same kind of focus and innovation reaching and catering to Hispanics. In spite of the Hispanic demographic tsunami that everyone agrees is upon us, many companies still dedicate only 3% to 5% of their budgets to marketing to Latinos. If that’s your strategy to win in this economy.

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COMEDY CENTRAL’S STEPHEN COLBERT GIVES ROMNEY ADVICE: “APPEAL 2 VOTERS – SPECIFICALLY, ONE KEY DEMOGRAFICO!”

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

VIDEO EVERY LATINO MUST SEE

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WATCH STEPHEN COLBERT: VIDEO EVERY LATINO MUST SEE!

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Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a well-documentedLatino Problem.”

photo source: Comedy Central COLBERT MAKES FUN OF THE ETCH A SKETCH REMARK MADE BY ROMNEY'S TEAM

The former Massachusetts governor‘s positions on key issues—illegal immigration policy, deportation practices—have reportedly alienated many Latino votersAccording to a recent Fox News Latino poll, Pres. Obama has the backing of a whopping 70% of Latino voters, while Gov. Romney nabs just 14%. Fortunately for Romney, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert knows how to fix the candidate’s “Latino Problem” as the general election heats up. “I believe that Romney’s got a shot because of his Hispanic roots that run deep,” Colbert said.

photo source America’s Voice Blog

The late-night host reminded viewers that Romney’s great-grandfather and grandfather lived in Mexico, and his father was born there—”with young Mitt strapped to the roof of his car,” Colbert quipped, referencing the semi-scandal that has “dogged” Romney throughout the GOP primary race.

“Back in 1885, Mitt’s great-grandfather—Miles Park Romney—emigrated to Mexico to escape religious persecution of Mormons. Sadly, the U.S. government simply would not leave Mr. Romney and his wife, and his wife, and his wife, and his wife, and his wife alone!”

photo source Comedy Central
According to Colbert, Romney has a chance to score Latino support by playing up his heritage—and rolling out an advertisement produced by Colbert’s very own Super PAC.

(In other news, that particular running-gag helped earned Colbert and his writing staff nab a coveted Peabody Award on Wednesday).

MAKE SURE YOU WATCH THE COLBERT REPORT

The Colbert Report on COMEDY CENTRAL

Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

Colbert Super PAC – Republicans & the Latino Vote

www.colbertnation.com

REPUBLICANS DISSING THEIR BASE
CNN HOST: Is there a concern that Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election.
FEHRNSTROM: Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.

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WHY ARE LATINO DEMOCRATS CALLING ROMNEY “RADICAL?”

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Democratic state legislators from the Southwest followed President Obama’s example on Wednesday by putting the “radical” label on GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s agenda as they blasted the candidate’s immigration stance.

State Reps. Trey Martinez Fischer of Texas, Crisanta Duran of Colorado and Ruben Gallego of Arizona condemned Romney during a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee for aligning himself with some of the most anti-immigrant voices in his party.

Photo credit: Tim Gaynor

“If Mitt Romney intends to go after President Obama on immigration, he has a problem: Latinos have been following Romney’s extreme policies, and he has zero credibility with our community,” Duran said.

photo source: Cafferty File  

The state legislators at the same time described President Obama as an “ally” and “friend” of the Hispanic community, which has traditionally been at the center of the immigration debate.

The “radical” characterization of Romney appeared on the state legislators’ par langue only a day after Obama used it to denounce the current Republican vision on the country, which the president said “is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity.”

Martinez Fischer attacked Romney specifically for the candidate’s promise to veto the DREAM Act – a bill that would provide lawful status to undocumented immigrants who graduate from college or enroll in the military – should Congress pass it.

photo source: AP

“Let’s just make it very clear. Ninety one percent of Latinos support the DREAM Act,” Martinez Fischer said. “Translation: Romney is out of step with 91 percent of Latinos in this country.”

The representative from San Antonio acknowledged that Obama has been “tough” on illegal immigration, but he amended the president’s record breaking number of deportations estimated at more than 1 million since taking office, by arguing that Obama has tried to obtain immigration reform.

photo source: AP

“We need to recognize that when Latinos say ‘Who is our advocate?’ At least Obama’s name is in the conversation,” Martinez Fischer said. “You will not find (Republican Sen.) John McCain anymore.”

READ MORE: HOUSTON CHRONICLE

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THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SENATOR MARCO RUBIO

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

In a Fox News Latino Exclusive interview, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he agrees with the 90 percent of Latinos who support the Dream Act -which allows young people who grew up in the U.S. and are in school or the military to become citizens.

In the interview the son of Cuban immigrants told me the proposed law, written by Democrats, would have allowed for “chain migration” of 3 to 4 million of the young people’s relatives. He is reportedly considering proposing a version of the Dream Act that blocks deportation of those young people but does not give them citizenship.

The senator’s uneasy straddle on the Dream Act is similar to his attempt to ride the fence on immigration reform.  He supports tough new laws passed by Republicans in Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina to allow police to demand proof of citizenship – arguably exposing all Latinos to harassment based on racial and ethnic profiling. In that case, the senator said he stands with the Republicans who put the laws in place because local officials are reflecting their constituents’ frustration at the lack of federal action on immigration reform. But he wants the federal government to take the lead. The young senator’s difficult tap dance with the Dream Act and immigration reform is more than one politician’s problem.

Sen. Rubio, the son of Cuban American immigrants, is every Republican’s first choice to be the vice presidential nominee in 2012. His presence on the Republican ticket is potentially a game-changer with Hispanics now the fastest growing segment of American voters and with a large presence in swing states, such as Florida, Nevada and Colorado.

WATCH MARCO RUBIO’S FOX NEWS INTERVIEW

http://video.foxnews.com/v/video-embed.html?video_id=1539051691001&w=466&h=263
Rubio could also help Romney with conservatives because of his ties to the far-right Tea Party.  Rubio is also working with republicans in congress, including Senators in states with large immigrant populations, to write an immigration reform proposal that could win support of a majority of Republicans. The pressure for a Romney-Rubio ticket grew in recent days after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, and also went public with his preference for Rubio to be on the GOP ticket. Rubio contributed to political buzz when he quickly followed Bush’s lead with his own endorsement of Romney. “Marco Rubio is living proof that the American dream is still very much alive,” Romney said in a release thanking Rubio for the endorsement.

In February, a national Fox News Latino poll found that 24 percent of likely Latino voters said they are more likely to vote Republican if Senator Rubio is on the ticket.

But Rubio, on the night he endorsed Romney, insisted to me he will not accept an invitation to run with Romney. I asked him if he might change his mind if Romney and other GOP power brokers tell him that his potential power to attract Latino voters to the Republican ticket will be the difference between winning and losing the White House.

“First of all, these hypothetical questions are dangerous,” he said. “And it isn’t going to be the choice between winning and losing. You know, you don’t win or lose a presidential race on a VP pick. You win or lose on competing visions for the future of our country. “And I think we Republicans have an opportunity to offer a very clear contrast to the direction that [President] Barack Obama has taken and wants to continue to take the U.S. ,” he concluded.

The Fox News Latino poll shows that President Obama now has a job approval rating of 73 percent among Latino voters. None of the candidates running for the Republican nomination, including Mitt Romney, gets more than 14 percent of the Latino vote when facing President Obama.

“If Mitt Romney puts a Hispanic candidate on the ticket, I don’t think Hispanic voters are going to look at that say ‘Oh, yeah!,’ and ignore his stand against the Dream Act,” said Joel Benenson, President Obama’s campaign pollster.  The pollster said Romney’s policies on immigration are hurting him with Hispanics.

In fact, Romney has taken the hardest stand against immigration reform of any of the Republicans, including his famous proposal to have illegal immigrants deport themselves. He also criticized former Sen. Rick Santorum for supporting the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latino justice on the Supreme Court. Romney has also gone after Texas Gov. Rick Perry for signing into law an in-state tuition benefit for illegal immigrants seeking an education.

So, does Sen. Rubio think Romney and the GOP vision for America’s economic future has any chance of getting through to Latino voters?

“Absolutely, [it will get to] all the communities in America,” Rubio said. No other community understands “empowerment, upward mobility, better than the Latino community… [it] is the reason why they are here to begin with. And the best system in the world for upward mobility and economic empowerment is the American free enterprise system. I would argue the Democrat’s agenda is undermining [it].”
READ MORE: FOX NEWS LATINO

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