Journalist Diego Graglia has been documenting the lives of Latinos during this presidential election year. He recently traveled from New York City to Mexico City, stopping along the way to talk to Latinos in small towns and big cities about the issues that matter to them. For more on La Ruta del Voto Latino/The Road to the Latino Vote visit www.newyorktomexico.com.
Restaurant owner Gerónimo Barragán saw ten of his employees arrested and deported in February, some to his native Mexico, others to Guatemala. Santa Rosa County, Florida authorities also went to other businesses, looking for people using stolen Social Security numbers. Since the raid, the already small Hispanic community in the Florida Panhandle town of Milton has all but disappeared.
In this interview Barragán talks about the raid and his thoughts on the upcoming the election. A committed Baptist, Barragán supports President Bush and may not vote at all.
This Thursday, New Haven, Connecticut will mark its one-year anniversary as the first city in the nation to provide identification cards to undocumented immigrants which allow them access to local government services.
Despite harsh criticism and legal challenges the city has issued more than 6,000 Elm City Resident Cards since the program began last summer.Kica Matos, an administrator for New Haven’s Community Development Dept., says that the city has benefited along with immigrants, especially in crime prevention, because immigrants no longer fear that local police will turn them over to federal immigration authorities if they come forward with information about a crime. She has also taken New Haven’s program on the road.Matos just returned from a trip to California, where she advised cities including Los Angeles, on how to create their own identity cards.
Hartford, Connecticut is also considering a proposal that would allow the city to qualify as a so-called “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants.
In a rural Iowa town that was once a bustling model of small-town resurgence, scores of families are left to rely on local food pantries and churches for their meals. Parents have been left to watch over their children while wearing ankle bracelets but are unable to seek work to provide for them. The school’s population has been halved, and a gang of minors makes a weekly trip to Cedar Rapids to report to the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency which monitors their status. There’s nothing left to do but wait. Their fate doesn’t rest in their own hands, reports New America Media in a series of articles on the effects of the largest immigration raid in history has had on a local community.
And they are the lucky ones. Nearly 400 workers were arrested and detained in the largest immigration raid in history at Agriprocessors, a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. Three-quarters of these workers were hustled through the legal system in a matter of a few weeks — arrested, detained and then allowed to plead guilty to charges they didn’t understand, unaware that they were facing criminal charges and were being sent to prison for sentences averaging five months each. The treatment of these workers lead a long-time court interpreter and college professor, Erik Camayd-Freixas, to break his professional code of silence to report on the abuses that these workers faced in a 12-page essay that made national headlines. After serving time in jail, largely for identity theft including social security fraud, the workers will be deported back to their home countries, torn apart from their wives or children who are under government supervision in Postville.
For Agriprocessors, however, it’s back to business as usual. After a dip in production and escalating Kosher meat prices (the company produces about 40 percent of the country’s Kosher meat) production is nearly back to normal reports the Jewish Journal. So far only two low-level managers have been charged, despite the government accusing Agriprocessors of paying workers below the federal minimum wage, hiring minors, numerous safety violations and allegations of worker abuse that included a manager duct-taping one workers’ eyes and beating him with a meat hook. The company has also been accused of providing workers with false documentation, such as social security cards, to work at the plant.
There appears to be a stark disparity in the government prosecution of those who work illegally in this country and those who provide them with work despite bombastic claims by ICE officials that employers are no longer safe from prosecution.
Spanish-language media giant Univisión announced last week that its local evening newscasts in Los Angeles and New York were the first- and second most-watched local broadcasts nationwide among all viewers in any language in the coveted 18-to-49 age bracket (otherwise known as the media’s Holy Grail).
The announcement is especially striking given the continued shrinking viewership of traditional English-language nightly newscasts produced by local affiliates of ABC, CBS, and NBC.
On any given night, KMEX, the Los Angeles Univision affiliate, dwarfs its English- language competitors with evening newscasts that draw 331,000 viewers. The closest English-language newscast in the same area lags KMEX by more than 70,000 viewers.
In recent years, Spanish-language stations (including Telemundo, owned by NBC-Universal) have consistently had the most viewers in cities with large immigrant populations such as Los Angeles and New York. (more…)
However, his campaign has aggressively sought these voters, releasing ads on both radio and television that talk of support for free trade agreements and job creation in Mexico and the United States.
But the political notes that play well in Mexico City may ring sour in Michigan, and that raises the political question of the day.
Will reaching out to minority voting groups be enough to tip the scales in favor of one candidate over another, especially in battleground states? If the answer is yes, it could signal a seismic shift in electoral politics.
Over the course of the primaries much attention was given to white, working class voters. These are the voters who bore the brunt of job losses from NAFTA, who fear an influx of immigrants because they could lower wages, and who strayed from the Democratic Party as it embraced social service programs and policies targeted towards minorities that left many Whites feeling that the party had forgotten their concerns.Re-labeled Reagan Democrats, they were the key to victory for Republicans and the one Democrat, Bill Clinton, who successful courted them.
When Sen. Barack Obama couldn’t win this group during the Democratic primaries, many analysts questioned his ability to forge a winning coalition in November.But Obama had a new demographic formula: young voters, African Americans voting in record numbers and affluent, liberal Whites.
As the first African American to be a presumptive party nominee, Obama faces greater scrutiny about his ability to win over Whites, and is spending time and resources in cultivating favor with this group. McCain, on the other hand, doesn’t have to worry about that kind of political symbolism.
It frees him to conduct one of the most novel exercises in this already unique campaign cycle – campaigning for American votes outside of America.It’s a recognition that despite resistance in some parts of the American electorate, the dam has burst on globalization and the effects of this flood has blurred borders, mixed identities and is making the U.S. more politically accountable to her immediate neighbors than ever before.
Aligning with Latinos on trade and immigration, McCain may be the first candidate, if he’s successful, to prioritize the concerns of a minority group over the wishes and priorities of a large part of the country’s majority demographic group.His move reflects the shift occurring in the U.S. population, but campaigning in this way also invests power in Latino voters and provides them the platform to push their issue agenda forward and by extension the agendas of the countries many in this group are tied to.
As the much publicized NALEO report showed, Latinos could be the swing block in the swing states. They have already provided McCain with one victory – in Florida.Winning the Sunshine state with the Latino vote allowed him to clinch the Republican nomination. Now will it allow him to clinch the presidency?