Skip to main content

A U.S. Border vehicle drives along the U.S. and Mexico border fence in Naco, Arizona September 7, 2011. Since the attacks on 9/11 ten years ago, the U.S Border Patrol and National Guard Troops have increased security along the border in Arizona. REUTERS/Joshua Lott
U.S.-Mexico border, near Naco, Arizona.
As you might know, the Senate bipartisan framework on immigration reform has one glaring problem—the two sides have different interpretations of the border commission. Democrats seem to think it only has "advisory" capabilities, in other words, it's irrelevant and does nothing. Republicans seem to think that any citizenship clause wouldn't be triggered until that commission certified the border as "secure."

This is important, because Republicans are terrified of 11-13 million Latinos suddenly having the right to vote. If Democrats got 80 percent of them (as trends suggest), that would mean a net 8 million new votes for Democrats. President Barack Obama won by five million votes in 2012. Holding up citizenship on bullshit border security grounds would allay those fears.

So much of the wrangling over the next several weeks will be over this border commission, as it would include the governors of the border states, currently staffed entirely by Republicans (Texas, New Mexico and Arizona). We don't know who else would sit on this commission, but presumably it would include elected officials and perhaps the heads of one or more federal agencies focused on border security.

But let's assume it's the GOP governors holding up the citizenship trigger, what better way for Latinos to take matters into their own hands than by hitting the ballot box in force? It's hard to understate just how weak Latino voter performance is in the region. Texas is the worst:

if Texas Latinos participated in politics at the same rates they do in other Latino-rich states—California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona—then Texas would already be a swing state. Texas has about the same percentage of Latinos as California. If they had turned out at the same rates as Anglos in 2008, 1.2 million more Latinos would have voted, according to Census figures. McCain beat Obama in Texas by 951,000 votes.
Rates might be higher in Arizona, but not high enough. Per the exit polls, 18 percent of Arizona voters were Latino, but they make up 25 percent of the state's voting age population (and 30 percent of the entire population of the state). That is mostly a function of youth—the median age for Arizona Latinos is 25, it's 44 for Anglos, but it's woeful nonetheless.

So how can you best motivate Latinos to finally turn out in numbers reflective of their percentage of the population? Tell them that their vote will decide the fate of their parents, their children, their aunts and cousins and friends and neighbors and co-workers. You give them skin in the game, and they have a reason to participate.

Hence, the fake-reform Republicans are playing an odd game here—they think they're creating a barrier to 13 million Latino voters, but in the end, they may get the worst of all worlds—13 million new Latino voters, more Democratic than ever, and an angry Latino electorate so fully engaged in Arizona and Texas that they hit purple (or even Blue) status sooner than anyone envisioned.

You can lend your voice to this debate by signing this Daily Kos/Worker's Voice petition thanking President Barack Obama for his call for comprehensive reform.

Originally posted to kos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:51 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site