Security Tops Most Important Election Issue in Latest National Tracking Poll of Latino Voters

The latest New Latino Voice online tracking poll conducted by Florida International University and Hispanic advertising company Adsmovil reported that security is the most important 2016 election issue among Latino voters, the first time this issue topped the survey since the NLV tracking poll launched in April.

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FIU professor Eduardo A. Gamarra, one of the poll’s co-authors, attributed this latest finding to the June 12 shooting in Orlando.

“Most likely this is a result of the tragedy in Orlando that directly affected the Latino community,” Gamarra told Latino USA.

The poll also tracked Latino voter preferences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. According to the latest results, Clinton leads Trump with Latino voters by a margin of 58 points (75-17). About eight percent of voters chose Other. (Click here for previous stories about the NLV poll.)

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The June 13-19 survey asked 9,844 online Latinos the question about presidential preference and 4,815 online Latinos the question about the election’s most important issue. According to poll organizers, 200,000 Latinos have responded to the NLV poll since it was launched in April.

The latest toplines are below:

Supreme Court Blocks Obama Immigration Executive Order with 4-4 Tie

On Thursday morning the Supreme Court ruled 4-4 on an immigration executive order from President Barack Obama that would have offered temporary relief to millions of immigrants, upholding a lower court injunction against the plan.

However, the deadlock ruling in the case of United States v Texas, did not preclude the possibility of a future appeal if an Obama-appointed justice were to be added to the Court or after the 2016 presidential election, if Hillary Clinton were to be elected President.

The Court’s opinion contained just one sentence: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.”

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In November of 2014, after the midterm elections, President Obama announced a Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) executive order that would give temporary immigration relief and work permits to about five million undocumented immigrants, most of whom were parents of DREAMers or legal permanent residents. The order had also expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was announced by President Obama in 2012. The 2012 DACA program was not affected by this latest decision, just the expansion of it.

A few weeks after DAPA was announced, 24 states, led by Texas, sued the Obama administration.

On Thursday afternoon, the White House tweeted out a video clip of President Obama responding to the Court’s decision.

Puerto Rican Farmworkers Say Michigan Company Discriminated Against Them

A June 22 media release from LatinoJustice PRLDEF said that 15 Puerto Rican farmworkers have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because the farmworkers claimed a Michigan company discriminated against them.

According to the release, the Puerto Rican farmworkers had been recruited to work in Michigan for Manzana LLC, but they were all fired “after repeated comments comparing them to other Latino workers.” The release added:

Upon arriving in Michigan to work, Manzana officials immediately began to make comments comparing Puerto Rican workers with Mexican workers and questioning their ability and willingness to work. Company officials began to treat the Puerto Rican workers disparately, challenging them to “race” other Latino workers, calling them insulting names, and even sending workers away who had just arrived from Puerto Rico before they were able to start working.

“I felt discriminated against at Manzana, especially when I came to work and was constantly being compared since the day I arrived with other Latino workers. My supervisor would frequently make comments about my background that had nothing to do with my ability to work,” said Wilson Torres Rivera, one of the workers recruited.

Manzana LLC does not have an official website but a job listing from 2015 advertised Farmworkers/Laborers. Pay was listed as $11.56 per hour.

The farmworkers came to Michigan through the Puerto Rican Workforce Agency. The release also said that the workers were “consistently harassed about their work and threatened with being fired.” Eventually, all the workers were fired.

The EEOC complaint, Villegas, et al v. Manzana LLC, was filed on June 17.

More Afro-Latinos in US Identify as White than Black (VIDEO)

A Facebook video posted Monday by Atlanta Black Star is revisiting the results of a March 1 Pew Research report, which states that 39% of Afro-Latinos in the United States identify as white.

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In addition, even though Hispanic is not classified as a race by the U.S. Census, 24% of Afro-Latinos say they identified as Hispanic. 18% of respondents identified as black.

The Pew report stated that “one-quarter of all U.S. Latinos self-identify as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean or of African descent with roots in Latin America.” It also listed Afro-Latino populations by Latin American countries (numbers listed in the following graphic are in the thousands):

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Recently, Latino USA dedicated an entire hour about what it means to identify as Afro-Latino:

OPINION: Queer Puerto Ricans and the Burden of Violence

In the light of the recent Orlando massacre, where a large number of LGBT Puerto Ricans and Latinas/os lost their lives, it becomes self-evident that to be queer and Puerto Rican or Latina/o in the United States is strange and at times profoundly dangerous.

Strange because many people do not understand who we are and seem not to care, and we live lives marked by invisibility, as demonstrated in the ways that many journalists minimize the specificity of our experience, except perhaps for unusual cases such as CNN’s Anderson Cooper and the New York Times’ Lizette Alvarez and Nick Madigan. Dangerous, because we are at risk of multiple prejudices and aggressions, whether they are racism, homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia, or a combination of the above. What’s worse, these challenges come along with the general risks of life in the U.S., given the prevalence of weapons, profound social inequalities, lack of comprehensive mental health care (and in some cases, basic health care), and the rise in xenophobic, ultranationalist and extremist discourses that we face.

Many Puerto Ricans in the archipelago of Puerto Rico and many Americans in the United States have been slow to acknowledge and accept queer persons, or more specifically, to allow queer-identified ones to live openly and embrace their identities publicly, as a political act, demanding full social, political, and cultural recognition. A case in point: it was only this year that the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City recognized LGBT leaders, in spite of decades of activism. Another example: when I started the research for my Ph.D. dissertation on queer Puerto Rican migration and culture, many people were bewildered by the topic and asked me if there was really enough material to carry out such a project.

Common thinking has it that it is preferable to do things in silence or in secrecy, while allowing comedians, politicians, religious clergy and others to make fun of, ridicule, or condemn our experiences. Many want us to pretend that we are just like them. In their minds, everything is alright as long as you follow social conventions that require heterosexuality, marriage and gender compliance, including masculine behavior for men and feminine behavior for women.

Yet, more than 40 years of lesbian, gay and trans activism and radical cultural productions in Puerto Rico and the United States and in other countries in Latin America have had a profound impact, and now things are decidedly better. But better does not mean ideal, particularly in Puerto Rico, a territory that has been subjected to colonial rule by the United States since 1898, where the economy has been in a recession for over a decade and the government is banned from declaring bankruptcy by the United States legislature and Supreme Court. The U.S. colony has been profoundly affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, by drug violence and by the collapse of the social contract. The constant social, political, and economic crises in Puerto Rico throughout the 20th and now 21st centuries have generated major migration to the United States, facilitated by the fact that all Puerto Ricans hold U.S. citizenship since 1917, which means that we can travel freely between the two locations. And millions of Puerto Ricans have left the island, many of them LGBT. Thousands have gone to Orlando, Florida, because of the poverty, violence, lack of opportunities, and in some cases the homophobia they face back home.

Orlando might have 600,000 Puerto Ricans, but as Steven Thrasher has observed, many mainstream news sources in the United States have ignored or minimized the specificity of the murder victims at Pulse nightclub in Orlando: the fact that 23 of the 49 persons who were killed by Omar Mateen were Puerto Rican; that 90% of those killed were Latinas/os, mostly LGBT Latinas/os and their relatives and friends; that their faces were black, white, and brown, the children of the African diaspora; that most of them were working class and extremely young; that, as Juana María Rodríguez has pointed out, they were at Pulse on Latin night, celebrating the life-affirming practices of music and dance and shared culture among friends.

Memorial in Warsaw, Poland, for the victims of the Orlando Massacre.
Memorial in Warsaw, Poland, for the victims of the Orlando Massacre.

What can LGBT liberation offer us, when leaders, journalists and regular people ignore the multiplicity of oppressions and fail to see these in an intersectional framework? Or when well-meaning LGBT white persons systematically exclude the voices of queer people of color, maintaining spaces of white hegemony?

Radical thinkers such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherríe Moraga, Sylvia Rivera, James Baldwin, and Audre Lorde demand that we reflect critically on these exclusions. Sadly, Orlando is not the only case of recent homophobic violence: a large number of persons were shot and killed on May 22 at the Madame nightclub in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. While love, understanding, and forgiveness are powerful tools that help us to heal and honor our victims and our dead, anger, fury and rage are also useful and at times absolutely necessary emotions that we must tap into to address the profound violence we suffer at the hands of bigoted individuals, antidemocratic governments and repressive states. Tapping into these emotions means channeling our energies to demand social change: speaking out against racism, homophobia, lesbophobia and transphobia; demanding stricter gun control laws; addressing the social and economic crisis in Puerto Rico by focusing on the needs of its people and not those of Wall Street vulture funds.

Perhaps, to survive as queer, feminist, radical persons of color, we need to embrace the paradox of love and rage, and use these in a transformative way.

***

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes is Associate Professor of American Culture, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he directs the Latina/o Studies Program. He tweets from @larrylafountain.

How Organizations Are Helping Latinos Affected by the Orlando Shooting Get the Help They Need

When the names of the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando were read last week at press conferences, vigils and on news broadcasts across the world, it became clear just how profoundly the tragedy had affected the Latino community in particular.

Latino community leaders report a staggering 90 percent of the 49 people killed were Latino or of Latino descent; of those, 23 were Puerto Rican. At least three of the victims, two of whom survived, are undocumented.

While much has been done to raise money for medical and domestic travel expenses in the wake of last Sunday’s tragedy, many of the Latino survivors and victims’ families continue to face a mounting number of unique challenges, such as dealing with language barriers, obtaining visas and organizing repatriation logistics for the deceased.

Read more at HuffPost Latino Voices.

Restored Mural for Orlando: A Poem by Roy Guzmán

This afternoon I got an email from writer Roy Guzmán about a poem he published in Public Pool about the Orlando Massacre. I emailed Roy to ask him if LatinoUSA.org could republish this poem and he said yes, as long as we linked back to Public Pool. Here is Roy’s poem:

RESTORED MURAL FOR ORLANDO

Seconds before the shooter sprays bullets on my brothers & sisters’
bodies / the DJ stops the record from spinning / & I am interested

in that brief dazzle of pink light / how it spreads on iron-pressed
shirts until they turn purple / how a gun is a heart that has forgotten

to sing. The rapture in a stranger’s eyes / a candid take on resurrection.
You visit Orlando to fantasize about the childhood you didn’t have /

even though I grew up in Florida the trip was a luxury because I grew
up poor & when I finally could afford it I took my parents to Universal

Studios / this is the first time I ever saw my mother get on a rollercoaster
because she’s always been ashamed of her weight & we ended up

buying a timeshare by mistake / not really by mistake / but by my illusion
that my parents worked themselves sick in the U.S. so they needed

vacations / & the debt collectors still call us after all these years to remind
us of the Great Recession where my mother lost her job & my father

had to go into early retirement. Our mothers gave us names
so we would know what goes at the head of a tombstone / bare précis /

& our duty is to feel the isolation that any alignment of letters can trigger
when they’re carved out of grief / since most of us were born or bloomed

out of sorrow like swans always bent on pond water or unpaid bills /
as though we are fishing for clues about our graves / or where we’ll stop

to mislay our moisture on others’ necks. & just the night before I went
out for Drag Night at Lush with four other poets / one reason to escape

my schedule & relive my adolescence / I am afraid of attending places
that celebrate our bodies because that’s also where our bodies

have been cancelled / when you’re brown & gay you’re always dying
twice / I got to see thirteen performances by amateurs / a few special guests /

one queen who happened to make a stop in Minneapolis / she’s a national
sensation / & the MC sang a raspy but virtuosic version of “When You’re

Good to Mama” & the boys & girls & fems lined up with their dollar bills /
which the queens scarfed down with their perfect bosoms & their teeth

& I turned to Danez & said the whole performance reminded me
of receiving communion as a child / how for me a church is a roof

that’s always collapsing / though I might have been talking about
lovers paying their condolences / so often we forget that what kills us now

once believed in our survival / that a pistol & a rifle pulled apart
can be the shape of your arms as you pull a lover closer / that when his

teeth are black it means you picked the right bottle of Sauvignon /
that in our video games one can ride a bullet toward eternity.

***

My partner is asked to sing at the vigil in Loring Park. His choir
has commissioned an hour-long piece inspired by David Levithan’s

Two Boys Kissing / in which a pair of teenagers participate in a kissing
marathon to set a new Guinness World Record. A Greek chorus of souls /

who won’t be vanquished by the epidemic / find comfort narrating the tragic
but true events. How can I sing for an entire hour about that much grief

without breaking down during the performance? my partner asks me
as I scroll through the news. On the phone / my mother says the shooter’s

hatred sprung from watching two men kiss in Bayside Marketplace in
the heart of Miami / & I am imagining how my mother might never approve

of me pressing my lips against another man’s without that man being
my father or a mistranslation of him / because even our fathers have prayed

at least once for us to be gone / No eres mi hijo maricón. In Bayside
I held an old lover’s hand before I moved away to college / the moon upon

the water like a wound that wouldn’t heal / & he dumped me soon after /
said he couldn’t bear the pain of me parting / which when you’re older

you rank as necessary pain that trained you when to open up & shut
like a house with only hurricanes moving through it / or hasty promises.

Orlando like an orange / now green with mold / but still edible for some.
The evening of the shootings / after dinner with friends who grieve

by not dying / I come home to touch my partner’s sweltering body /
a humid June evening without AC in Minnesota / far from the carnage

but still close to feel it / & we produce baby noises / an uhn for witness /
an uhn for hope / as we give shape to the carefree child of vulnerability

that runs between us every evening / safe but somehow lost / until my lover
falls asleep & I stay awake out of need & continue to whisper their names

as they are added to the list / like faces from a river of baptism. I forgive
the earth for not turning its neck further / for not allowing those pink lights

to keep flashing / for the cackles to remain intact no matter how boisterous.
In those seconds when their skin has never beamed so bright / so self-

assured / the bartender is shaking a piña colada / goose bumps flower
on someone’s arms / the streets are humming from delight / a pair of lovers

walks in / another eagerly awaits the last call of the evening. It would seem
the record wants to keep spinning while we wipe their blood from the floor.

For them we learn to touch again. For them we walk home / & we are safe.

El Nuevo Día Survey: Majority of Puerto Ricans Reject Federal Control Board for Island

The results of a new survey published Thursday morning by Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Día newspaper reveal that 54% of Puerto Ricans are not in favor of a federal oversight board to manage the island’s debt crisis. The board, part of the H.R.5278 PROMESA bill that passed the House of Representatives and is now with the Senate, would be “to achieve fiscal responsibility and access to the capital markets,” according to the text of the bill.

El Nuevo Día conducted 500 one-on-one interviews across the island with voters 18 years and older. While 54% of respondents said they oppose the board as described in the PROMESA bill, 46% support it and the PROMESA bill. The survey had a ±4.4% margin of error.

In an English version of its original article in Spanish, El Nuevo Día also added this:

Likewise, a majority (55%) says the existence of the Board is “very” or “quite important” for them. This sets a contrast against the 43% that feel the existence of the Board would be of “little” or “no importance” for people like them. The remaining 2% had no opinion.

Puerto Rico is a self-governing territory of the United States, and even though Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, the island’s municipalities cannot declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy, a fact the Supreme Court confirmed recently.

Despite earning bipartisan support in Congress as well as support from the White House (on Saturday President Barack Obama called the board “a temporary system of oversight”), the PROMESA bill as it stands still has its critics, including Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who said that he will oppose the current version of the bill until it allows for some appointments from the island to be on the board, plus other provisions, such as not altering the island’s minimum wage. Currently, membership of the board would consist of seven appointees, chosen by the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader and the President.

ACLU Settlement with ICE Will Allow Detained Immigrants to Use Functional Telephones

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California is praising a class-action settlement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that would give immigrants detained in four detention centers the ability to use functional phones to contact their lawyers, families and government agencies, according to a ACLU media release.

On Tuesday, the United States District Court of the Northern District of California published the 47-page settlement decision and agreement (below) in the case of Lyon v ICE, a 2013 ACLU complaint saying that ICE’s “inadequate telephone access” had violated “the rights of ICE detainees to a full and fair hearing under federal law and the U.S. Constitution.”

As a result of the settlement, the ACLU release said that ICE had agreed to the following:

  • Provide speed dials to make free, direct, unmonitored calls to government offices and immigration attorneys who provide pro bono services;
  • Install forty phone booths, distributed among the four facilities, for private calls during waking hours, as well as private phone rooms for legal calls;
  • Allow legal calls to family, friends, and other people to obtain testimony, documents, and other support for immigration cases;
  • Extend the time permitted for a call before a phone automatically cuts off, from 20 minutes to 40 minutes and from 15 minutes to 60 minutes for existing ICE speed-dials to certain nonprofit organizations, consulates, and federal offices;
  • Provide facilitators who will process phone requests and ensure timely access to phone rooms;
  • Offer phone credit or other accommodations for those who can’t afford to pay for calls; and
  • Revise inspection forms used nationwide to inspect for violations of telephone access standards.

The four detention centers who would implement these changes are three county jails (Contra Costa, Sacramento and Yuba) contracted by ICE and the Mesa Verde Detention Facility, a privately-run detention center in Bakersfield.

“When people are locked up on immigration charges, they deserve access to a working telephone. The Constitution and basic fairness demand it,” said Julia Harumi Mass, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. “That phone is their lifeline, their hope for defeating the charges against them and establishing their legal rights to continue their lives in the United States.”

The release also mentioned the story of I.P.:

…49-year-old man who came to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 5, was detained after being pulled over for a traffic violation. He spent months locked up because he couldn’t access legal help, largely due to the inadequate phones. The phone system had a series of complex instructions and codes for dialing that rarely worked. It also disconnected when a caller reached any kind of automated message or prompt. I.P. wrote letters to 15 attorneys and attempted to make dozens of calls before he was finally able to find a lawyer.

“Making phone calls was expensive, difficult and frustrating. Each week, I’d see people give up and sign their deportation papers because they couldn’t reach anyone,” said I.P., who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of his ongoing case. “Many of the men in detention had families and couldn’t afford to wait the weeks it took to make phone calls, so they just surrendered.”

“Because of this settlement, thousands of immigrants in detention will be able to use the phone to regain their freedom and go home to their families,” said Carl Takei, a staff attorney at the ACLU’s National Prison Project. “But far too many of them should never have been locked up in the first place. ICE sends massive numbers of immigrants into detention and exposes them to brutal confinement at a cost of $2 billion per year to American taxpayers.”

National Latino Tracking Poll (June 6–12 ): Clinton 76% Trump 16% Other 8%

This week’s Latino Voice 2016 online tracking poll from Florida International University and Hispanic mobile advertising company Adsmovil has Hillary Clinton with a 60-point advantage over Donald Trump. It is the highest difference between the candidates since the week of the May 17–23 tracking poll, when Clinton led Trump by 63 points (77-14) with Latinos. In addition, after seeing Latino support grow from 11.8% from April 11-15 to 17.3% from Jun 2–Jun 5, Trump’s support dropped a point in this latest poll, while Clinton crossed the 76% mark.

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Clinton still sees a significant lead over Trump when Latino support is broken down by gender. According to this week’s tracking poll, Clinton leads Trump 78%-16% with Latino men and 74%–16% with Latina women.

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The presumptive Democratic nominee is also leading Trump in all age groups by large margins. When compared to last week’s New Latino Voice results, Trump saw his support with Latinos 18-24 drop this week from 27% to 19%.

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The June 6–June 12 tracking poll asked 11,894 online Latinos about their choice for President. Another question about campaign issues included a sample of 5,548 online Latinos. According to the poll’s authors, 200,000 Latinos have responded to the New Latino Voice poll since April. An “Other” candidate choice is still being included in this tracking poll.

Last week, Latino USA spoke with one of the poll’s authors about New Latino Voice’s methodology during a segment about the science of polling Latino voters.

The toplines for this week’s New Latino Voice poll are below: