New Report Focuses on 2016 Voting Preferences of US Latinos who Speak Indigenous Languages

As the debate surrounding how the Latino vote played out in the 2016 election, a new analysis by Hispanic Economics is focusing on the presidential voter preferences of U.S. Latinos who speak solely indigenous languages. In an executive summary provided to Latino USA by Hispanic Economics’ Louis Nevaer that will be made public on December 15, the post-election analysis concluded that “the repudiation of the Democratic candidate was strongest among Hispanics/Latinos who speak an indigenous language.”

In an interview with Latino USA, Nevaer also said that only 40% of U.S. Latinos who speak an indigenous language voted for Hillary Clinton.

“What we found that about 40% voted for Hillary,” Nevaer said. “Of those people who voted, who are indigenous speaking, only about 40% voted for Hillary, which means 60% voted for Trump or one of the other candidates.”

“Basically, what we are saying is that 60% [of this voting population] voted to punish Obama and voted against Hillary,”Nevaer added.

The findings, according to Nevaer, was based on about 2,200 interviews.

In addition, the executive summary that Nevaer provided made the following conclusion:

In this analysis, we found that a substantial portion of the Hispanic/Latino vote repudiated the failure of the Obama administration to implement comprehensive immigration reform. Hispanic/Latino voters expressed anger over the failure to legalize the millions of “Dreamers” who arrived in this country as minors and live in immigration limbo; at the mass deportations implemented by the Democratic administration—where Obama is derided as the “Deporter-in-Chief”—on a wholesale basis; and the vague promises Hillary Clinton made.

More than a quarter of Hispanic/Latino voters wanted something different—and they voted for a change since the status quo was no longer tenable to them. And the repudiation of the Democratic candidate was strongest among Hispanics/Latinos who speak an indigenous language, evidence of how little understood this constituency remains.

In consequence, this analysis focuses on language comfort levels. English-dominant Hispanics/Latinos tend to be U.S.-born and are, for the most part, proficient, but not fluent, in Spanish. Spanish-fluent Hispanics/Latinos tend to be immigrants or first-generation U.S. citizens living in predominantly areas of heavy Hispanic/Latino population who speak Spanish better than they speak English. Hispanics/Latinos who speak an indigenous language tend to be members of an indigenous nation community that continue to emigrate to the U.S. and are, almost universally, the least likely to be assimilated into the mainstream of Western life. (They tend to be acculturated to Mexican society and alienated from U.S. society; seldom are they assimilated in either society.)

The executive summary also shared its findings across several states. For each state listed, the Latinos who solely spoke an indigenous language showed the least support for Clinton:




According to Nevaer, of the 27.3 million U.S. Latino voters in 2016, 18% of these voters are Latino voters who solely speak indigenous languages.

“If you want to incorporate and reach out to the entire community in the Hispanic diaspora, you have to recognize that there are people who don’t speak Spanish or English,” Nevaer said. “You have to understand, ‘what do we need to approach these people?’ Second of all, if we’re dealing with a population that that’s still clinging or thinking or working along the lines of pre-Hispanic community patterns, is that ok, or if that is not ok, how do we educate them in a different way or reach out to them? So, for example, if you had 10 Hispanics who are eligible to vote but they decide because they live in the same house or are part of the same family, the only one will go vote and speak for them, how do we impress upon them that that’s how you do it in the old country but here everyone can vote if you are eligible to vote and everyone should vote.”

You can listen to the full 18-minute conversation with Nevaer here:

At the end of the executive summary, the report also criticized U.S. Latino media, particularly Univision anchor Jorge Ramos and Latino USA anchor Maria Hinojosa, as well as polling firm Latino Decisions, which has been critical of national exit polls about the 2016 U.S. Latino vote:

The failure of the media to understand the dynamics of the indigenous Hispanic/Latino mindset surprises specifically because two of the leading voices in the Hispanic/Latino media—Jorge Ramos and María Hinojosa—are Mexican-born and presumably familiar with the “conflict” between gente de razón versus gente sin razón, a shorthand for how Westernized Mexicans deal with non-Westernized Mexicans.

Compounding the challenges Hispanic/Latino voters faced, both Jorge Ramos and María Hinojosa were partisan in their reporting of the U.S. presidential campaign. With Trump’s victory, these reporters’ hostility to the president-elect brings into question the access they will enjoy to the White House under the incoming Trump administration. Trump, after all, having won after writing off the Hispanic/Latino vote, has no incentive, or apparent inclination, to speak to Hispanic/Latino journalists or the Spanish-language media.

Are either Jorge Ramos or María Hinojosa familiar [sic] an indigenous language?

This is paramount since, for many indigenous-speaking Hispanic/Latino residents in the U.S., speaking Spanish, by virtue of being a language of colonialism, is as off-putting as if they were spoken into any other language. In other words, for most Hispanic/Latinos who speak an indigenous language, when Latino Decisions conducts a Spanish-language survey or a Spanish- speaking reporter seeks them out, it is as much an act of cultural imperialism as if they were surveyed or addressed in English.

That alone remains the greatest obstacle to reaching this segment of the Hispanic Diaspora in the U.S.

To access Latino USA‘s 2016 political coverage, you can click on this link.

Sarai Gonzalez From Bomba Estéreo’s ‘Soy Yo’ Video Visits Latino USA

Ever wonder what a typical day at Latino USA is like? Well, it’s pretty much like this. We burst out in dance with our guest, who also doubles as a music video star. This week’s show is all about the good, the bad and the awkward of fitting in, and Sarai Gonzalez from Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo” video had some interesting things to say. Our interview with Sarai premieres Friday (December 9) on our site.

64 Democratic Representatives Ask Obama to Pardon DACA Recipients

A letter to President Barack Obama signed today by 64 Democratic members of the House of Representatives is calling for the President to pardon Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients before a Donald Trump administration enters the White House.

The letter (pictured below) started by addressing a White House response to a previous letter that pardoning close to 750,000 DACA recipients would not grant legal status to Dreamers, a point reiterated by Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, in a recent podcast.

After that point was explained, the letter stated the following: “We ask for the narrow reprieve of a retroactive and prospective pardon of categorical civil immigration violations for a unique group of immigrants who have placed their trust in both you as their President and us as their lawmakers. To be clear we are not asking you to ‘create legal status.’


In 2012, President Obama announced the DACA program through executive action, and since then, about 750,000 Dreamers have received two-year work permits and a shield from deportation. President-elect Trump has already promised to reverse Obama’s DACA action. He also said he would deport two to three million undocumented immigrants.

Last week, POLITICO reported that Republican senator Lindsey Graham (SC) “is readying legislation that would extend legal protections for previously undocumented immigrants who came here as children.”

Here is the full letter with all 64 signatures.

Changes in Store for Fox News Latino (UPDATE)

Update, December 8, 2016: Fox News’ Bryan Llenas posted the following public Facebook post on December 7, confirming that FNL is no longer:

After midnight, will officially be history. For the better part of 6 years I have been a part of the Fox News Latino team in one way or another. When we launched in October of 2010 – we were faced with a daunting task: report on Latino stories in the US and Latin America – in English – in an honest attempt to give voice to the voiceless and bring often ignored stories from the Latino community to the mainstream. We not only were tasked with reaching a new audience – in a new way – we also had to work extra hard to break preconceived notions about what the Fox News brand meant in diverse Latino communities around the country in an attempt to report the truth. It is a sad day for many at Fox News Latino but the truth is we have so much to be proud of.

For six years, a team of mostly Latino journalists covered two presidential elections and a slew of issues important to Latinos from immigration to health to entertainment. We highlighted unsung heroes and trailblazers from artists, politicians, scientists, activists, to military veterans. In short, when asked: was a failure? The answer is unequivocally NO. For six years, we amplified Latino opinions, voices, and issues on one of the major media platforms in the country. Countless stories that would have never seen the light of day were published and shared to an enormous audience. I always said in a perfect world we wouldn’t need a Fox News Latino – because newsrooms around the nation would recognize that the Latino community is the mainstream community. Today – I am proud that virtually all of my former colleagues will continue to work at Fox News in one capacity or another and I know they will bring the perspective and core of Fox News Latino’s mission wherever they go. I am thankful to Francisco Cortes for starting Fox News Latino. I am proud of all that were part of Fox News Latino and the current team. Love you all. Liz Llorente Carolyn Salazar Erika GarciaLucia Suarez Sang Andrew O’Reilly Rebekah Sager William Vourvoulias Alex Vros Carmen Llona


A December 2 post from digital site Fox News Latino said that starting this Thursday, the six-year-old page daily news page focused on U.S. Latinos will redirect visitors to “a new home” on

“Existing original FNL stories will be redirected to their new home on,” the post read. “Visitors to, meanwhile, will be redirected to a collection of Latino-focused content published across”

The post also said that “FNL content will be made available across a wider range of the website.” It also added this:

“The FNL team’s reporting will be published in relevant sections—including US, World, Politics, Opinion, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Health, Science and Tech. This will allow more FNL stories to be seen by the larger Fox News audience across all platforms—including Fox News mobile, apps, Apple News, and Facebook Instant Articles.”

Fox News Latino launched in 2010 and became one of the first daily English-language digital news sites from a major English-language U.S. mainstream media company dedicated solely to the country’s U.S. Latino population. Nonetheless, it was criticized by some left-leaning media watchdogs for “selling different versions of the same story to pander to conservative audiences while simultaneously attempting to court Latino readers.” In 2014, when FNL was given a media award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), the association’s co-founder Charlie Ericksen called the award “kind of a farce.”

In 2012, NPR profiled FNL, and in that story, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy Angelo Falcón said this about FNL’s editorial content: “They’re very good. They cover a lot of issues that are important to the Latino community … They cover things that the mainstream media really doesn’t pay much attention to.” Nonetheless, Falcón also pointed out the difference between FNL and Fox News: “You have someone like Bill O’Reilly who’s always out looking to take potshots at Latino advocacy groups and Latino issues. [He’s] very anti-immigrant.”

Latino USA emailed Irena Briganti, Fox News’ executive vice president of corporate communications, with follow-up questions about FNL’s December 2 post. It is unclear if FNL is shutting down or if current FNL staff were also impacted. As of this posting, Briganti has not responded to the email.

In 2013, NBC Latino —another English-language daily news site created by a major mainstream media outlet that catered specifically to the to U.S. Latino community— shut down after being active for just 16 months. Now, NBC’s Latino content can be found at a Latino portal on

Disclosure: The author of this story used to write opinion pieces for NBC Latino.

The Latino USA Playlist for ‘Muslim & Latino’

If you love the music as much as your love our show, then you’re in luck. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing the songs featured in our latest episode.

This week we feature the music highlighted in Muslim & Latino..

Warning: you might become obsessed with an artist or two.

The Playlist

“Los Originarious” by Frikstailers

“Todo Lo Sólido Se Desvanece En El Aire” by Ana Tijoux

“Los Hacheros” by Timbalaye

“La Curandera” by Elastic Bond

“Puente” by Chancha Via Circuito

To view the full playlist on Spotify, click here.

Muslim & Latino: A Photo Essay

Editor’s note: For three months, photojournalist Federica Valabrega met with Latino Muslims in New Jersey. In her photo essay, Valabrega captures pivotal and everyday moments: a man poses with his conversion certificate; women pray during Salat al-`Asr; and a diverse Muslim crowd gathers at Union City’s Latino Muslims Day. Valabrega’s photographs exhibit how Latino Muslims are building community, and inviting non-Latinos and non-Muslims in unity and celebration. Valabrega hopes to continue traveling around the United States and Latin America to capture more of the Latino side of being Muslim.

The photo essay is being released in conjunction with the latest Latino USA episode, “Muslim & Latino.”

The following are captions and photographs taken by Valabrega:

Latino Muslims Day


Women praying during Salat al-`Asr, the afternoon prayer at the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center during Latino Muslims Day on November 13, 2016. Organized by the masjid (Arabic word for “mosque”), Latino Muslims Day was meant to foster communication between Latinos and non-Latino members within the community.

Gilberto Valdes Ramos


Gilberto Valdes Ramos poses here with his newly received conversion certificate from the North Hudson Islamic Education Center in Union City, New Jersey. His Muslim name is now Ahmed Abdullah. Gilberto is Cuban, and he took his Shahada (the confirmation of faith to Islam) a year ago.

Arianna and Alannah


Arianna (left) and Alannah (right) K. are 11-year-old twins from Hackensack, New Jersey. Their mother, Khadijah Tanju (she took her Muslim name from the Prophet Mohammed’s first wife and first follower), is Colombian and their father is from Warsaw, Poland. The twins decided to convert alongside their mother about two years ago. This decision came after Khadijah had remarried a man from Turkey and she found herself wanting to immerse herself in this faith. Since their conversion, the twins have started going to Muslim school where they are required to wear a uniform. They are, on the other hand, not allowed to wear the hijab or any other Muslim garment while visiting at their father’s home, because he still has not accepted their conversion to Islam.


Arianna (right) dreams to be a marine biologist and Alannah (left) wants to become a photographer. The twins take judo classes every Monday and Wednesday night in North Bergen, New Jersey. They do not like to wear their hijab to class because they do not want other kids to ask them questions.

Ester Baez


Ester Baez is from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. She usually goes to a different masjid in Bay Ridge, but today she wanted to come celebrate with her older son in Union City. Ester has had a very painful life from drug abuse and other addictions, which cost her the custody of her eight children. Her parents were given custody. Then about a year ago, she found Islam though her oldest son, who introduced her to this faith. Soon, she stopped drinking and using.

Ester is now adjusting her Dominican heritage to the newly accepted faith. She has also regained custody of two of her younger children and is fighting to get custody of the others. Ester finds daily challenges in combining her two identities,  but she says she has never felt more at peace and focused as she is now. Here, she poses with three of her children.

Wesley Lebron


Wesley Lebron (center), also known as AbdurRazzaq Abu Sumayyah, sits here with his whole family at his mother Teresa’s house. His abuelita Teresa, who is hugging him in the photograph, calls him “malandro” because he never calls her like he used to do when he was younger. Wesley is a first generation Puerto Rican who converted to Islam in 1998 together with his wife Alejandra (far right in green hijab). They have two children: baby Ismael and 13-year-old Sumayyah (right in red hijab). Wesley is now the New Jersey coordinator, national speaker, and instructor for IslamInSpanish, an organization fostering the assimilation of Muslim and Hispanic values around the United States for Latinos who decide to convert to Islam.



Khadijah enjoys an afternoon out playing basketball with Arianna, one of her twin daughters. Khadijah does not mind wearing her hijab outside, but her daughter is still not comfortable with it, especially in public parks because she fears judgment and disrespect. Eleven-year-old Arianna says she would rather not have to face such challenges for now.

From Every Walk of Life


The North Hudson Islamic Educational Center hosts Muslims from every walk of life, where African American (left), Palestinian (center), Syrian (center right) and Latino (right) Muslims are listening and recording the speaker’s conversation about her conversion to Islam during Latino Muslims Day.

Kids Playing


Kids playing on the floor of the masjid in Union City in between prayers.

Confronting Racism Inside Islam and Islamophobia Outside It

Though it’s tempting to assume that Muslims in this country are part of a unified Muslim identity, the truth is that, like everywhere else, there are divides among ethnic lines and there is often as much prejudice within the community as there is outside it. Maria Hinojosa talks with Meira Neggaz, executive director of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, (which finds research-based solutions to problems facing Muslim Americans) on how her organization balances the internal challenges of the Muslim community with external pressures like Islamophobia, and how Latino Muslims fit into the larger framework of Islam in America.

Featured image by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Alianza Islámica: Islam in the Barrio

In the 1970s, a group of Puerto Rican teens fighting for social justice in New York City decided to become Muslim. Islam itself gave them the moral structure they were looking for, but Muslim communities and institutions didn’t provide the support they needed. They went on to create the United States’ first Spanish-language mosque and Latino-specific Islamic organization, one determined to promote the welfare of its community and improve lives. Throughout the 1990s, its members grew into the hundreds, but the group didn’t last. Latino USA talks with the group’s co-founder Ramon Ocasio about the rise and decline of Alianza Islámica.

Featured image courtesy of Ramon Ocasio

#LatinoMuslims: Finding Community on the Internet

For some Latino Muslims, it can be hard to come by spaces where they can fully express both their culture and their religion. On social media platforms, however, connecting to people of similar backgrounds is much simpler. Through Instagram, reporter Maryam Jameel was invited to join a virtual group chat of fellow Latino Muslim millennials, most of whom have never met in real life. Hundreds of messages get sent daily as its members bond and support one another. Over time, Maryam realized just how necessary the group is to keeping some of its members grounded and connected to a religion that some are even keeping secret from their families.

Featured image by Maryam Jameel