President Obama unquestionably owes this historic victory to 71% of the Latino vote and the support this community has on the DREAM Act. His most recent decision to give undocumented youth a way to work in theUnited States through Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) unquestionably motivated Latinos to vote for him. In addition, for the past eleven months undocumented youth have been exposing the extreme position of Mitt Romney on immigration, including his threat to veto the DREAM Act. The election result shows that being against the DREAM Act and immigration is no longer good politics for the Republican Party if they plan to win the Latino vote in the future.
On the heels of the Yo Decido cover of TIME, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party will mull over their future and policies during their concession speeches. The Republican Party has paid the price for bowing to the more extreme factions of its Tea Party base, especially on immigration.
During his campaign, Romney was protested against and confronted by DREAMers, who, over the past few years, have organized and become very influential in the Latino community. He ignored DREAMers, or told them that they simply had a “difference of opinion” on the DREAM Act to those facing deportation. The DREAMers refused to quietly self-deport, however, and instead organized the “Veto Romney, Not the DREAM Act” campaign against his anti-immigrant stance.
“We demonstrated to the Republican party that the DREAM Act and a humane treatment for our family are priorities for the Latino community. The “self deport” rhetoric will no longer be tolerated. Now it’s time to hold Congress and the President accountable to work across parties for a permanent and sensible immigration solution” said Erika Andiola who is a Dreamer and National advocate for the DREAM Act and immigrant rights.
A record number of Latinos in Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Arizona, Floridaand Virginiacame out against Mitt Romney. The Latino Decisions polls indicate that nationwide and in battleground states Obama won Latino voter support over Romney by historic margins – 72 percent to 23 percent nationwide, including: in Colorado, Obama won Latino voters by 87 percent-10 percent margin; in New Mexico, by a 77 percent-21 percent margin; in Nevada, by an 80 percent-17 percent margin; in Ohio, by an 82 percent-17 percent margin; in Virginia, by a 66 percent-31 percent margin; and in Florida, by a 58 percent-40 percent margin.
Strategist will continue to dissect the elections for weeks to come, but what is clear is that the American people, including the Latino community, finally want a solution to our immigration system and for both parties to come together.
“We are very proud of our community tonight. Latino voters came out in large numbers – perhaps surpassing 10% of the electorate for the first time in history according to CNN Exit polls — because they care deeply about the future of this country. They want to see our economy and opportunity expand, and the American dream available for all. And they clearly want to see the immigration issue resolved,” stated NCLR President, Janet Murguia.
“In one of the closest presidential election in years, the battle for the Latino vote was no contest at all. There is no doubt from our own poll results that the President’s positions on the issues, and in particular his landmark decision this summer to grant deferred action to DREAM Act students, more closely mirrored the Latino electorate and were among the key reasons for the President’s historic showing among our community,” stated Murguia.
“But it is also true that the Republican Party and the Romney campaign failed to compete for our vote and they paid the price for it. Our community was clearly engaged in this election – NCLR itself surpassed our own goal and registered nearly 95,000 new voters. The community also clearly recognized that there was no Latino-focused Republican strategy and even more damaging, they were fully aware that candidate Romney has embraced ‘self-deportation’ as an immigration strategy, touted Kris Kobach as his immigration guru, and at one point promised to veto the DREAM Act,” continued Murguia.
“In their post-mortem of the election, the Republican party needs to do some soul searching when it comes to the Latino community. NCLR firmly believes it is in our community’s best interests to have both parties actively and vigorously campaigning for our vote. And frankly, it is the party’s best interests as well. As this election demonstrated, in 2012, communities of color, young people, and women are not merely interest groups, they’re the ‘new normal’ demographic of the American electorate. And with nearly a million Latinos turning 18 every year for the foreseeable future, the Hispanic vote is now a fixture of American politics,” noted Murguia.
“We are optimistic that we can and must come together to address our country’s continuing challenges because this election also revealed much common ground among American voters. The economy is the overwhelming concern of nearly every voter and education and health care remain high priorities. And finally, we agree with the voices in the Republican party who are saying that immigration needs to stop being a negative wedge issue for candidates and that the party should focus instead on a common-sense solution to our broken immigration system. Latinos are ready to step up and work with Congress and the Administration as soon as they reconvene to address these urgent concerns,” concluded Murguia.