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When taking a look at the United States’ history, you learn that it is a country built by immigrants. This cultural mix has brought the country to a point so high that the fathers of the Constitution could have never imagined it. Today, South Americans are the ones going into the so-called ‘Land of Opportunities’, and they are doing so very rapidly.
The latest census data indicated that in 2008, there were around 46.7 million documented Hispanics residing in the U.S., which represents more than 15 percent of the U.S. population. Of this, about 18 million voters are registered to vote. With presidential elections just around the corner and with the growing Hispanic population, it appears that these citizens will play a predominant role in the elections since they constitute such a large number of voters.
In the 2008 elections, over 60 percent of Hispanics voted for Obama, motivated by his promises of immigration reform. Today, many of them feel disappointed and cheated because they think that Obama will not follow through, especially since Democrats lost their hegemony in the House of Representatives. Neither have they forgotten that under a President Obama mandate, there have been more illegal immigrants deported than ever.
However, different surveys indicate that the vast majority of Latinos will vote for President Obama again, not because they are happy with what he has done, but to punish the Republicans, who they accuse of being anti-illegal immigrant. Arizona is one of the “anti-illegal immigrant” bastions. It was there the controversial SB1070 law was approved. This could bring overwhelming Latino support for Obama in Arizona, which could be lethal against Romney’s aspirations.
Romney is not doing much to obtain the support of this part of the electorate. He supports the Arizona law and seems to refuse the Dream Act law. Today, Latinos are nearly 16 percent of the country, and in 2050, they will make up about 30 percent, so Republicans must change their illegal immigration policy if they want more votes.
The first step has been given by the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Marco Rubio, who has Cuban roots. An immigration bill that he says is a “humanitarian mission” and that he plans to promote is the way to win over an electorate that seems to only trust Obama nowadays .
In every presidential election since 1992, the Republican Party has won about one quarter of the Latino vote, while the Democratic Party has received at least half of the support of this community. The remaining 25 percent is at stake. Who will win the election in 2012?