Don’t Democrats Have the Latino Vote on Lock?

Don’t Democrats Have the Latino Vote on Lock?


As far as political issues go, immigration continuously comes in at or near the top of the list for Hispanics, yet they continue to support Obama for president, who has an increasingly negative appeal on the issue.  Given recent polling numbers combined with the president’s record on immigration, you have to wonder:  Are Hispanics contradicting themselves?

According to recent Latino Decisions polling, nearly 86% of Hispanics consider the economy and immigration to be the most important issues to Hispanics for 2012.  In the case of immigration, the majority of Hispanics under the age of 50 think it’s the number one issue and it comes in a very close second for everyone else.

In a new poll, released by Pew Research, Hispanics favor Obama over any Republican candidate by at least 3-to-1.  Yet, in the same poll, Hispanics disapprove of Obama’s current handling of the immigration issue 59% to 27%.   Even among those who disapprove of the Administration’s policy, they still favor Obama by nearly 2-to-1 over almost any candidate.

If you are in favor of increased immigration, the Dream Act, immigration reform, and reduced deportations, it’s easy to understand the unfavorable rating towards the President.  Even while he and his party dominated two branches of government for two years, immigration reform was not touched.  Deportations have boomed to record levels, even averaging 75% higher than Bush’s averages over his entire Republican presidency, according to Pew.  In fact, Dory Massey, head of the Mexican Migration Project (Princeton University), says that for the first time in sixty years, Mexican immigration has equaled emigration, causing a net zero increase.

Besides the increase in deportations, others have speculated that additional factors deterring immigrants from crossing the border are an increase in violence on the border along with a disheartening American economy that doesn’t offer quite the opportunity it once did.  Whatever the reason, no one can deny the seeming contradiction in the numbers, unless you consider one other factor:  a perceived lack of options in the Republican field.

If, however, you do consider immigration to be your number one issue, there may be some love for you among the Republican candidates.

In the past, the front-runner Romney has claimed to be in favor of a “process of registering [illegal immigrants],” as well as reduced deportation and a path to citizenship.  Nonetheless, being on the verge of the Republican nomination, Romney has changed his mind and is now claiming the opposite.  Whatever you believe his real stance to be, he might be someone to consider.

Paul and Santorum have consistently maintained the strongest positions against any form of legalization, including a path to citizenship or any other form of legalization.  Paul even goes so far as to say he would repeal citizenship based solely on being born on American soil, while Santorum is a strong advocate for a border fence and “English-only” legislation.   Probably not your cup of tea if you are an immigration advocate.

Immigration advocates might have a little more appreciation for Perry and Newt’s backgrounds.   Perry has done a little flip-flopping himself, but he did implement a Texas Dream Act and has opposed SB1070 and E-verify.  Newt, in his typical academic manner, attempts to make his stance a little more complicated than it really is.  Bottom line, he favors a path to legalization for illegal immigrants, as well as a “high-skilled” guest worker program.

Regardless of your beliefs on immigration, there’s probably someone that feels the same as you in the Republican Party – at least someone that says they do.

Given what we know about Obama and the current cadre of political contenders, it’s hard to understand why Hispanics continue to support him so strongly.  Or are they?  New polling by Pew also shows a significant drop in Hispanic support for the President, while Republicans are seeing some gains.  Is Republican marketing starting to work or has Democratic inaction (or wrong action) started to drive them away?

To quote my fellow Politic365 contributor, Alicia Menendez, when discussing how the voting outcomes in Hispanic strongholds of Florida and Nevada might give Romney a chance to “check himself before he wrecks himself,” given the number of appealing alternatives, the Obama administration might have to do the same.

Then again, since we have yet to see a primary vote in a state with a strong Hispanic presence, there might be a lot more checking to be done, by both sides, before we reach November.

JUSTIN VELEZ-HAGAN is Senior Contributing Writer and Commentator for  He is also the National Executive Director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, an international developer of senior living facilities, and is a reservist in the U.S. Air Force.  He can be reached at


  1. Obama is not the one deporting people or Underminding the immigration issue. Is all the republican dicks in congress that want him to fail on every single step he takes. Let the man do his job. Now they r on the race for a presidential campaign is when suddenly they like Latinos and immigrants. Watch the congress debates from a year ago and you will see what I’m taking about.

  2. If you are Hispanic you have to watch the republicans very carefully. Obama is the only one who will listen. All others are in the Tea Party aligned crowd. Romney, if he does win, will still have a republican party in charge of the House and still move things through the senate. Hispanics run the risk of a total republican route if they do not elect democrats to the house or senate and the re-election of Obama.

  3. Before State immigration enforcement laws are repealed, before the some Liberal effected judges start blocking portions of these laws, it is way past time to enact federal laws at the congressional level. Already the Democrats are trying to revoke Arizona's policing laws and very soon the same party will work to circumvent Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, Utah and any other state that are badly abused by the illegal alien outlaws, legally stealing money from taxpayers with consent of the IRS. Missouri could be next on the vulnerability list of the Department of Justice, Liberal press and open border nuts egging on political Washington activists? These almost unlimited costs of welfare payments and public assistance programs for their children's education, family medical care and the prison population explosion is in the billions of dollars every year.

    You can go to the Heritage Foundation, NumbersUSA and unlimited corruption at Judicial Watch for these pro-sovereignty assessments of monolithic costs. These effects are caused by years of unparalleled disrespect for American citizens and legal residents. This is paramount incompetence that millions say, especially the TEA PARTY that this invasion was intentionally allowed to flood our country. This is caused by decades of treachery and neglect for the border fence and incomprehensible failure to make illegal entry as a–FELONY. Cheap labor and votes is the mainstay of this dispersion plague–that is what is all about? Massive failure to follow the doctrines of the U.S. Constitution and with court judges writing their own laws is apparent. Now with no substantial answers to this cancer, both parties are looking towards a blanket amnesty, which will cost 2.3 trillion dollars to complete.

    Two Bills that can counteract any measure of the courts and the leftists move within the Democratic Party, as they endeavor to break the back of state laws? Today! Now! Contact your Washington Representative and demand they pass these bills. Criticize to the Federal and State offices of Senators and the Congressional House phone switchboard at 202-224-3121. "The Legal Workforce Act", (H.R. 2885); Mandatory e-Verify on a federal level, will essential begin self-deportation of illegal workers along with their families. Passed by Congress, the law will not only banish unauthorized labor, but those businesses owners that fail to carry out the law, could be fined or find themselves facing a prison sentence.

    The second bill that needs to pass is "The Birthright citizenship law" (H.R.140) amending the right of illegal parents of claiming citizenship for unborn babies smuggled into our country, once again circumvent immigration laws. If the Congress does not begin to start enforcing the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) as found in the Federal Register, America will be overrun with impoverished people, seeking a way out of their own poverty in other countries; from Europe to South and Central America and every other hemisphere. This is another billion dollar expense of unfunded mandates slammed on to all taxpayers–without Representation? These are two of the most important taxpayer laws that potential presidents Mitt Romney (C+), Ron Paul (F), Rick Perry (D+), Newt Gingrich (D), Jon Huntsman (D) and Rick Santorum (D) and Borack Obama (F-) have been graded upon by NumbersUSA for their stance on the 20 million plus illegal aliens already homesteading here and laws to halt this travesty. The TEA PARTY is not for any kind of AMNESTY, Sanctuary City policies, Uncontrollable Chain Migration or state law Dream Acts. With Florida primaries arriving very shortly, we must be ever vigilant of illegal aliens voting. They have and will again, specially in 2012.

    • Anyway you look at this issue….no Republican is going sacrifice for Latinos. The only one in their history who did something for Latinos, was Ronald Reagan. The only reason he did was because he wanted them to come here (U.S.), and work low paying, long hour jobs that no one wanted. Now that the economy is in shambles, those type of jobs are more appealing to U.S. citizens, so the Republicans now want to send the Latinos away. It's a shame how Latinos have been used by the Republicans, then tossed to the side. The intelligent Latinos realize this, and that is why they side with Obama. Remember…..the Republicans have been in charge of this country during the time that Latinos were used and abused.