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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Latinos lack strategy for an Immigration Reform

By Silvia Uribe

Politics in the U.S. is like a soccer game: each player has a role on the field, each is equally important for the team, and the team has a strategy, and a goal. We Latinos certainly have an abundance of players, but we are not yet organized as a team, and unfortunately, we lack strategy, and our goal is a blur. This is why Latinos rarely score in politics, and victory is a pleasure we seldom enjoy.

If this sounds a little harsh to you, think again. Today, The Pew Hispanic Center’s (PHC) published the results of a survey. Among other things it tells us that "immigration does not rank as a top voting issue for Hispanics. Rather, they rank education, jobs and health care as their top three issues of concern for this year's congressional campaign.”

How can this be? If Latinos don’t see the Immigration Reform as the most important issue, why should others? If this is not important enough for Latinos to demand, and vote for - with 11 million undocumented Latinos – then why should it be important for those that benefit from a disorderly situation?

When will we, as Latinos, be able to recognize the political power that we could have? When are we going to wake up to a reality that is very obvious to everyone, but ourselves? Everyone else in the U.S. seems to understand that the Latino vote is crucial, but since we don’t go out to the polls, they keep just promising stuff, and giving us a rhetorical piece that may sound good, but in the end, continues to harm our own, our brothers and sisters’, and our children’s future.

The good news is, according to the same survey, as a group, Latinos are still very much in support of the Democratic Party. “Two-thirds (65%) of Latino registered voters say they plan to support the Democratic candidate in their local congressional district, while just 22% support the Republican candidate, according to a nationwide survey.”

The bad news is that, when it comes to actual intent to vote, only “51% of the Latino registered voters said they feel motivated to do so, while 70% of all registered voters said they are absolutely certain they will.” This is what I’m talking about, and this happens time after time.

It is encouraging to see that most Latinos realize that the Democrats are the party that has more concern for Hispanics. The point is that our tendency of not showing to the voting polls can only harm us, particularly with a pending Immigration Reform now, and in the future, with the Education Reform.

We seem not to understand timing, and timing is of essence in politics.

Interestingly enough, the PHC survey also found that 58% of Latino registered voters who have had conversations about the immigration policy debate with someone are more motivated to vote in the upcoming election compared to the 39% who haven't.

Whoever said that people should not talk about politics was wrong. On the contrary. We need to talk about the important political issues that affect our life. We need to inform others, and encourage them to vote. We need to tune-in. We cannot waste more time.

It is now, and it is us.

Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latino Perspective.

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