In a roller coaster election season, one thing’s for sure: 2008 will be the year of the immigrant and Latino voter. Political scientist Matt Barreto of the University of Washington predicts that more than 9 million Hispanic voters will turn out this year compared to 7.6 million in 2004.
And it's no accident. Groups like the We Are America Alliance and their My Vote / Our Future campaign, which is on track to register 500,000 new voters and get one million voters to the polls, are coordinating like never before to make sure Latino and immigrant citizens make their voices heard. After election day, these voters will get to work pressing for immigration reform.
In a new nationwide survey, the Pew Hispanic Center found that 93% of Latinos nationwide said that immigration was important to them. To these voters, it’s not just a question of how many visas we offer and to whom, but whether they and their families feel welcomed in the United States.
As Cecilia Muñoz, Senior Vice President at the National Council of La Raza recently said, immigration “tends to determine who the good guys are and the bad guys are for Latinos.”
This has made the extremists who’ve dominated immigration politics very nervous about what’s coming: a newly organized powerhouse demanding that Washington deliver real, comprehensive immigration reform.