The midterm elections demonstrated the power of the Latino vote
> across the United States. And in this strength there is something
> quite new.

> Hispanics make up 15 percent of the nation’s population, and while
> we don’t yet have the political representation we deserve, more
> Latino politicians will take office in January. There will be 24
> Hispanic lawmakers in Congress, one more than before; and the U.S.
> will also have two Latino governors and two senators.

> But, interestingly, most of the Hispanics who claimed victory on
> Nov. 2 are not committed to the defense of undocumented immigrants
> — they are more conservative. This is certainly new. The U.S. has
> moved to the right, and so have many Latino politicians — among
> them a new generation of Hispanic Republicans who support measures
> that essentially attack the undocumented in this country.

> Not too long ago, most Latinos in office defended immigrants,
> whether they were here legally or not. For decades, this has been a
> tradition followed by members of both political parties. For
> evidence, look to the efforts of the three Cuban-born Republican
> congressional lawmakers of Florida — Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario
> Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ross-Lehtinen — who are working hard for
> national immigration reform.

> But this honorable and generous custom of fighting for immigrant
> rights is ending. So many of the new Hispanic Republicans about to
> take their seats in Congress and move into governors’ mansions based
> their campaigns on going after the undocumented.

> + Susana Martinez, the first Hispanic woman to win a governorship
> in the United States, wants to deprive undocumented immigrants of
> their ability to get driver’s licenses in New Mexico. And she said
> she would revoke those already issued.

> + Brian Sandoval, Nevada’s newly elected governor, has declared on
> his website ( that he opposes amnesty for
> undocumented immigrants, opposes issuing driver’s licenses to them
> and is in favor of imposing additional penalties on employers who
> hire them.

> + Unlike his predecessor Mel Martinez, Marco Rubio, the newly
> elected senator from Florida, doesn’t support amnesty for the 11
> million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. And he also has
> said that the children of undocumented immigrants, who have spent
> the majority of their lives in the U.S., shouldn’t be allowed to stay.

> + Five new Republican congressmen — Jaime Herrera of Washington,
> Francisco Canseco and Bill Flores of Texas, Rafael Labrador of
> Idaho, and David Rivera of Florida — campaigned on everything from
> tightening the U.S.-Mexico border to taking away the few meager
> benefits allowed to the undocumented.

> While one might assume that this new wave of Hispanic Republicans
> won their seats with the help of Hispanic voters, this is not true.
> On Nov. 2 most Latino voters cast ballots for Democrats (64 percent)
> rather than Republicans (34 percent), according to data from the Pew
> Hispanic Center. These numbers are very similar to those of the 2008
> election, in which President Barack Obama won the Hispanic vote (67
> percent), trouncing Republican John McCain (31 percent). It seems
> this new generation of conservative politicians was elected because
> non-Hispanic voters were persuaded that they were the best
> candidates for the job, regardless of ethnicity.

> In fact, enthusiasm for some of these newly elected Republicans is
> so strong that Florida Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart told me in an
> interview that Rubio might one day be a candidate for vice president
> — or even president.

> It is, indeed, a new day for Latinos in politics.

> P.S.: In an Election Day surprise, Senate leader Harry Reid of
> Nevada won his re-election bid thanks to Hispanic voters who
> supported the Democrat over Republican Sharron Angle, 68 percent to
> 30 percent. Now is the moment for Reid to fulfill his campaign
> promise to submit the Development, Relief and Education for Alien
> Minors Act to the Senate before January.

> The future of at least 800,000 undocumented youths and adults
> depends on Reid’s being true to his word. This is an issue that must
> be on the table when President Obama meets with the Republican
> leadership on Nov. 18 — without the president’s support, the DREAM
> Act cannot be realized.

By Jorge Ramos Avalos
© 2010 Jorge Ramos
(September 27, 2010)

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Jorge Ramos has been the anchorman for Noticiero Univision since 1986. He writes a weekly column for more than 40 newspapers in the United States and Latin America, and provides daily radio commentary for the Radio Univision network. Ramos also hosts Al Punto, Univision’s weekly public affairs program offering analysis of the week’s top stories, and Fusion’s AMERICA with Jorge Ramos, a news program geared towards young adults. Ramos has won eight Emmy awards and is the author of ten books, most recently, STRANGER - The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era.

A survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center found that Ramos is the second most recognized Latino leader in the country. Latino Leaders magazine chose him as one of “The Ten Most Admired Latinos” and “101 Top Leaders of the Latino Community in the U.S.”