The Economy vs. Immigration: What will unlock the Latino vote in 2012?

October 18, 2012, 6-8 p.m.
55 West 13th Street, Theresa Lang Center, Mezzanine

As they did in 2008, Latino voters are again expected to play a pivotal role in the presidential election. But unlike 2008, when immigration reform was the dominant issue for many Latinos, this time it is less clear what will motivate them. Public opinion polls consistently show that the economy is the top issue for Latino voters, a trend that would seem to favor Mitt Romney and the Republican message of economic growth and lower taxes. But many argue that it is the candidates’ positions on immigration reform that will be the true test for Latino voters. As the Daily News’ Albor Ruiz recently put it, “a politician’s attitude towards immigration is decisive in earning the trust of Latino voters.” By that measure President Obama would seem to have a distinct advantage, if only because Romney poisoned his relationship with Latinos with anti-immigrant rhetoric during the GOP primaries.This town hall event will explore the tensions between these two competing ideas, and the complex relationship that has evolved between the Latino electorate and the presidential candidates.

Will economic concerns such as unemployment and housing foreclosures guide their decisions at the voting booth? Will the candidates’ immigration policies dominate? Or, as some have warned, will large numbers of Latinos simply sit out this election? Indeed, understanding the political cross currents buffeting Latinos today will provide valuable insight on the probable outcome of the election and the political and policy implications for the nation over the next four years.This event will feature a range of voices and perspectives including Mexican American broadcast journalist María Hinojosa, pollsters who focus on the Latino vote, journalists covering the presidential campaign in states where Latinos are expected to be a key voting bloc, and advocates working on issues including housing foreclosures in Latino communities and immigration reform. The event will have a national perspective and will be distributed to a national audience on the web and as a special program offered by Latino USA.Co-sponsored by Global Studies, ICMEC, Americas Society/Council of the Americas, Feet in 2 Worlds, and Latino USA.

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