President Obama's decision to stop deporting young, otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants could help rebuild his support among electorally important Latinos after 18 months of futile efforts, some activists said Friday.
"There is overwhelming support for the protection of these children, as there is in the rest of the country. I think this could have an energizing effect on Latino voters," says Clarissa Martinez del Castro, director of immigration and national campaigns for National Council of La Raza.
It's a given that Latino voters are viewed by both political parties as critical to the the 2012 general election and that polling shows President Obama, and Democrats generally, enjoying a significant advantage with that such voters.
That reality prompted Mitt Romney to tell donors at a closed-door Palm Beach, Fla. fundraiser in April, in remarks overheard by reporters:
"We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party." He suggested that if the GOP failed to draw significant numbers of Latino voters away from the Democratic Party "that spells doom for us."
The debate over who is considered a minority was brought to the spotlight by the Senate race in Massachusetts. Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren claimed she had Native American heritage, but there's no records to indicate that. Still, Warren insists that she learned of her background through family stories and that she is proud of her heritage.
In our recent poll on what it means to be sick in America, one ethnic group stands out as having special problems – Hispanic Americans.
The national survey, conducted by NPR with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, sheds new light on Hispanics' health issues. It runs counter to the widespread impression that African-Americans are worst-off when it comes to the cost and quality of health care.