2013: Year of the Latino?

If this last election taught us anything, it’s that Latinos cannot be ignored. They matter. As the fastest expanding minority group in the country, they have and will continue to have an important role in this country’s elections.

That means Republicans need Latinos. Democrats need Latinos. America needs Latinos.

And what is it that Latinos want? The same thing most Americans want: good paying jobs, an excellent and affordable education, and a chance to achieve the American dream.

It isn’t all about immigration reform, and yet, it is immigration reform that drove the conversation this past election and will continue to drive the conversation until reform is finally implemented.

No, most Latinos are NOT undocumented. But many Latinos do know someone who is undocumented, and almost all Latinos know what it means to be the subject of doubt, the one who is most likely to be pulled over and asked for proof of citizenship. They know what it means to be categorized as “illegal.” They know what it means to be hated simply for the color of their skin.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a new concept in this country. Black Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans have and continue to feel the sting of racism, of doubt, of less-than full integration into a white-dominated culture.

But now, more than ever before, Latinos have at their fingertips the makings of a perfect storm. With Black Americans deserting the Republican Party, the GOP is struggling to find a way to hold on to this crucial minority, and they know immigration reform may be the only way to do so.

In the coming weeks, Arizonans will have an opportunity to be at the forefront of a major immigration reform movement. Business leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, and others will soon unveil a plan to move this state and this country forward. How Arizona’s politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, respond to this initiative will set the stage for the future of both parties.

It is an exciting time to be in Arizona. The world will be watching us. Let’s hope this time we find a way to crawl out from the ashes of embarrassment and rise above our racist image as a state ready to lead.


  1. Mike Slater

    Julie, black Americans aren’t deserting the Republican Party, they haven’t been part of the Republican party since FDR. What blacks seem to forget is the fact that a Republican president freed them and forget the fact that the KKK was started by Democrats and most Democrats in congress voted against the civil rights bill in 1964. They continue to vote for Democrats because they think the Party really cares about them.

    If the Republicans vote for immigration reform and the Dream Act ( both are nothing more than amnesty) they won’t get the Latino vote plus they will lose the white conservative vote.

    The reason minorities vote Democrat is simply. The Democrats promise them the most free stuff.

    1. Post
      Julie Erfle


      I highly doubt Black Americans have forgotten about Lincoln or that he was a Republican president. But the party of Lincoln is not today’s Republican party nor is the Democratic party the party of old. I find it offensive, though not surprising, that you assume minorities vote for Democrats because they get “free stuff.” Many of today’s Republicans are part of the 47% of America that are loathed by the Republican party. They include military members and those retired and on Social Security. Unfortunately, you’ve been fed a line by the Republicans and you regurgitate it without even understanding the data behind it.

      White conservatives can continue to deny the need for immigration reform, but they’re only hurting themselves and the Republican Party. Many within the party see this and do not believe that these conservatives will suddenly abandon ship or move to the Democratic Party simply because Republicans help implement reform.

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