Published on December 10th, 20120
Why America’s Largest Ethnic Minority Is Welcome in Neither Party
In 2008, then Senator Obama conjured up 67 percent of the national Latino vote to become the 44th President of The United States, poetically vowing to tackle comprehensive immigration reform and foster a restructured legalization process.
But more than three years later Obama has not only shirked substantive long term immigration reform. He’s actually deported more illegal immigrants for non-criminal violations during his first term in office than his predecessor George Bush’s entire two terms coalesced. What’s more, despite 2008’s broken election promises, Latinos continue to be used as pawns, not to advance substantive solutions or policies, but to accolade political sloganeering.
Obama’s executive order is the latest example. Not only does it fail to remedy the bureaucracy that typifies the tedious and nonsensical immigration procedure, it wholly fails to address America’s borders. The move, in essence, does little more than hurl breadcrumbs at Latino voters in hopes to procure additional votes in an otherwise hermetic election.
This is not to suggest, however, that Republicans have been hospitable. With the advent of renewed economic woes and enduring terrorism fears, the need to peg an identifiable enemy has been dazzlingly outward. The past four years it has been Latinos.
But laws like Arizona’s SB1070 have not only proven impractical and arbitrary from a logistical standpoint; that is, Arizona is still contingent on the federal government to deport who Arizona arrests. But such laws merely devastate already constrained resources on non-violent criminals.
In 2004, President W. Bush garnered more than 40 percent of the Latino vote, and went on to appoint 12 Latino judges to assorted circuit courts across the country. The torch, however, has since been dropped. In fact, during 2008’s presidential election season most GOP presidential contenders eschewed even deliberating in front of Hispanic audiences, essentially writing off Hispanic voters all together.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) was one of the first snubbed. In 2007, NALEO held its 24th annual convention and debate. The event, however, had to be cancelled because only one Republican presidential candidate agreed to appear, Rep. Duncan Hunter.
A few months later, the nation’s largest Spanish language network, Univision, then also held a debate, this time aimed to vigorously encourage eligible viewers to apply for citizenship and vote. Again, only one Republican Presidential candidate agreed to show up, this time Sen. John McCain.
Latinos are one of the fastest growing demographics in the country, around 16% of the overall population. Moreover, roughly 38.1% of both California and Texas is Latino. Though despite divvying sizeable Latino populations, the two juxtapose every general election — one breaks Democrat while the other breaks Republican — connoting the Latino vote is all but monolithic.
So why, then, is neither party making a substantive attempt — that is, doing more than merely applying a temporary Band-Aid — to address the heart of Latino concerns? Indeed, it is a pitiable condition when the largest ethnic minority is repeatedly driven to shoulder cynicism or apathy as the lesser of evils.
Perhaps Latinos would be better served to commence probing elsewhere for substantive long term solutions.
Brandon Loran Maxwell is an essayist; political analyst; satirist; playwright; and journalist. He has been published in various local and national publications, including: The Hill, The Washington Examiner, and UtahPolicy.com. In addition, he has been personally profiled in a number of other publications and has been a guest on various news programs. In 2009, he spoke on judicial reform alongside then Congressman Wu. He is a winner of Portland, Oregon’s One Act Festival; a coordinator for Students For Liberty; and a political science and film studies undergraduate