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Posts Tagged ‘The New School’

IMMIGRATION VS. THE ECONOMY: WHAT WILL UNLOCK LATINO VOTES?

We present excerpts from a conversation with pollsters, reporters and policy experts on how the issues of immigration and the economy are driving the decisions of Latino voters. This event at The New School in New York City was part of the project Ballot Voices in collaboration with Feet in Two Worlds.

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Fernand Amandi, managing partner at Bendixen & Amandi International, brings over a decade’s worth of experience in research and strategic management with an emphasis in corporate, political and public affairs consulting for clients including the United Nations, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, Univision, New America Media, the White House, the John & James L. Knight Foundation, the California Endowment, US Senator John Kerry and US Senator Robert Menendez.

Mr. Amandi has conceived, produced, and edited a number of successful television commercials for B&A International’s media practice. Mr. Amandi’s communications projects and analysis have been featured in The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, The Economist, and the Miami Herald.

He is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education.

Jordan Fabian is the political editor for ABC News/Univision. Prior to joining Univision in 2011, he worked as a staff writer at The Hill newspaper in Washington, DC where he covered Congress and the 2012 presidential campaign. Jordan has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News digital broadcasts, and C-SPAN, and has contributed to a number of nationally-syndicated radio programs. He also freelanced for Hispanic Business magazine and Letras Libres. Jordan hails from Olney, Maryland and is a lifelong resident of the Washington area. He graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of arts in history.

Chung-Wha Hong is Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella advocacy organization made up of approximately 200 groups throughout the state that work with immigrant and refugee communities. As the coordinating body for organizations that serve one of the largest and most diverse newcomer populations in the United States, the NYIC has become a leading advocate for immigrant communities on the local, state, and national levels. The NYIC’s membership includes grassroots community organizations, not-for-profit health and human services organizations, religious and academic institutions, labor unions, and legal, social, and economic justice organizations. With its pan-immigrant, multi-sector base, the NYIC provides both a forum for immigrant groups to share their concerns and a vehicle for collective action to address these concerns. The NYIC has registered over 300,000 new American voters to date, and is currently coordinating “Immigrants Vote!” – a multi-ethnic voter mobilization campaign in New York State.

Mark Hugo Lopez is the associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center where he studies the attitudes and opinions of Latinos, the political engagement of Latinos and Latino youth. Lopez also coordinates the Center’s national surveys. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University in 1996.

Fi2W Podcast: For Latino Voters it’s Immigration & the Economy, Not Necessarily in that Order

Fi2W’s John Rudolph sat down with Chung-Wha Hong of the New York Immigration Coalition and Mark Hugo Lopez of the Pew Hispanic Center to preview the discussion we’ll be hearing next Thursday, October 18 at the “Unlocking the Latino Vote” town hall
at The New School.

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The Latino vote could determine who becomes the next president. According to Lopez, Latinos helped Obama in key states in 2008 and Harry Reid in Nevada in 2010. Most Latinos don’t live in this year’s battleground states—at least half of all Latino voters live in California or Texas—but in contested states like Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, demographic shifts since ‘08 have pushed up the share of Latino eligible voters. This could have a major impact, Lopez says.

The Latino vote is closely tied to the issue of immigration but the economy, education and healthcare are all issues Latinos respond to strongly.

One of the reasons immigration ranks so high says Hong is that it remains unresolved. In 2008, Obama promised to pass reform within his first year in office. Instead he oversaw a record number of deportations. Jobs and healthcare, she says, are important but “immigration remains a litmus test for whether a candidate cares about Latinos.”

“If a candidate comes out opposing the DREAM Act, it’s not just a policy position,” she says.  DREAMers represent the pride and joy of Latino and immigrant communities and if someone comes out against the DREAM Act, like Romney did, it has major repercussions. For this reason, Hong doesn’t expect Romney to get the 40 percent support among Latinos that George W. Bush got.

According to Lopez, the economic downturn has had major ramifications for Latino communities: Right now more Latino children live in poverty than any other group – a first for Latinos. More wealth was lost in the recession by Latinos than any other group. And while there has been improvement in Latino unemployment, it is still two points above the national average of 7.8 percent.

But Lopez says, despite being hard hit by the downturn there remains strong support for the president across every Latino demographic group, except the traditionally more conservative groups like Cuban Americans and protestant Latinos.

According to Hong, support for Democrats among immigrants is not a given. However, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has proven very popular. Close to 100,000 young people have applied, meaning a large bloc of people will soon be getting work permits and protection from deportation.

Click the image to RSVP for the townhall discussion.

According to Hong, a vast majority of immigrant citizens know someone who’s undocumented and consequently know someone who’s eligible to get a work permit through DACA. Similarly, says Hong, the movement in many states to disenfranchise minority voters through shorter voting hours and stricter ID laws could backfire. When people feel attacked, as they did in Nevada in 2010 and in Arizona now, she says, it is a powerful motivating factor to show up and vote.

According to Lopez’s research, a majority of Latinos say they would support Obama over Mitt Romney in a head to head contest. Democrats are still seen as the better party for Hispanics than Republicans and polls have shown stable support for Obama among Latinos over the last ten months. But how many Hispanics will vote? Hard to predict, but because of demographic changes, Lopez thinks it’s likely we will see more Latino voters than we did in 2008.

Hong thinks health care tends to be overlooked when discussing issues Latinos care about. Obama’s health care reform, when implemented, will see an 18 percent increase in the number of Latinos covered. Many Latinos work in places where employers don’t offer healthcare and, Hong believes, Romney’s pledge to repeal Obamacare will lose him support. But how Romney talks about immigration reform, as he’s promised to do in the upcoming debate could greatly affect how Latinos vote in November.

The Oct. 18 town hall is cosponsored by Latino USAAmericas Society/Council of the Americas, and the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs and Global Studies programs.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund.

Aaron Leaf is a freelance writer and editor who has reported on human rights issues from Zambia, Liberia, Canada and Peru. He is a graduate of Ryerson University and the former editor of Ricepaper, a journal of Asian Canadian arts and culture.

Who wins in November? Romney, Obama or Latinos? Find out Oct. 18

 

Thursday, October 18th
6-8pm | The New School
55 W. 13TH ST. | THERESA LANG CENTER

Latino voters are expected to play a pivotal role in the presidential election, just as they did in 2008. This town hall event will explore the tensions in the complex relationship that has evolved between the Latino electorate and the presidential candidates. Will economic concerns such as unemployment and housing foreclosures guide at the voting booth? Will the candidates’ immigration policies dominate? Or will large numbers of Latinos simply sit out this election? Understanding the political cross-currents buffeting Latinos today will provide valuable insight on the probable outcome of the election, as well as political and policy implications for the nation over the next four years.

A CONVERSATION WITH:
Maria Hinojosa
 President, The Futuro Media Group
Jordan Fabian Political Editor, Univision News
Chung-Wha Hong Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition
Mark Hugo Lopez Associate Director, Pew Hispanic Center
Fernand Amandi Partner, Bendixen and Amandi Intl.

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