WASHINGTON – This week's primary elections confirmed that attacks by extremist candidates against immigration reform is not a winning strategy. Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ), beat decisively former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who took an extreme stand in opposition of immigration reform.
“Harsh immigration stances may mean losing the Latino vote and the election,” said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “The Latino community will not stand to be mistreated for what some believe is political gain.”
For the Hispanic community, the largest minority group with a population of approximately 43 million, time after time they have rejected the anti-immigration policies as was seen with the defeat of former Rep. Hayworth and in past elections conservative anti-immigrant Congressional candidate Randy Graff in Arizona’s 8th district who lost to the more moderate Democrat candidate Gabrielle Giffords and Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum losing to Democratic Congressional candidate Bob Casey and Colorado Gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo lost his 1998 House seat to Mike Coffman.
In poll after poll, more than half of American voters support a comprehensive immigration reform.
Results of three recent surveys conducted by LatinoMetrics for the Hispanic Federation and League of United Latin American Citizens; Dr. Ricardo Ramirez of the University of Southern California for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund (NALEO); and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago for Associated Press-Univision conclude:
• Immigration is now a top concern for Latinos: For the first time in recent memory, immigration has joined the economy and jobs as the top issue for Latinos. The Hispanic Federation and LULAC survey found that since the end of 2009, Immigration has catapulted to the top issue of personal concern among 1 in 4 Latinos tied with jobs and the economy.
• Latinos feel under siege because of the Immigration debate: The harsh nature of the immigration debate in recent months has contributed to Latinos feeling “less optimistic” and more under siege.
• Immigration and Arizona’s SB1070 are motivating Latinos to vote: The polling found overwhelming opposition among Latinos to the Arizona SB1070 law and a direct linkage between the current immigration debate and their motivation to vote this year.
• Latino Voters will punish those who oppose Immigration Reform: Latino voters see the Republican Party as hostile toward them, and view immigration as a non-negotiable “threshold” issue.
• Latino voters want Congress to deliver: While a majority of Latinos favor Democrats, they express disillusionment about the lack of progress on immigration reform.
• Lack of action on Immigration is hurting President Obama: While President Obama remains popular with Latino voters, they are less positive about his handling of issues specific to them and their families – issues like immigration.
• Foreign-born Latino voters are the major swing bloc who care most about Immigration: According to a study by America’s Voice, naturalized citizens are a key sub-group of the Latino vote, whose engagement this year may help tip the scales in a number of races. These voters feel more of a personal connection to the immigration debate, feel more persecuted and under siege than U.S. born Latinos, and right now are less likely to turn out in 2010 unless given a reason to do so.
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 850 LULAC councils nationwide.