In the spring and summer of 2007, organizations working with immigrants made a huge campaign to encourage people to apply for citizenship for two reason: to beat the monumental fee increase in the end of July 2007 and to get America’s newest citizens ready in time for November 4th. More than a million applied for naturalization in 2007 and another 480,000 in 2008 (Source: Cox News Service), making this the most multicultural election in history.
And despite the English Only proponents, states are beefing up the ranks of poll workers with language skills because of the Voting Rights Act. This act requires that certain states and jurisdictions translate ballot materials into other languages and provide interpretation services in some cases.
Latinos typically lean toward blue, and judging from a survey by El Tiempo Latino, this year will be no different. The survey found that of the 502 interviewed, 85.2% said they’d vote for Obama and the remaining 14.8% for McCain (Source in Spanish: El Tiempo Latino). The National Post also found that Latinos are overwhelmingly in support of Obama, but with a ratio of 2 to 1. This article also states that Latinos have an affinity for Obama because his top three issues are those most important to Hispanics: the economy, the war in Iraq, and immigration reform.
But many asked after the debates: where is the dialogue on immigration? Why aren’t they talking about it since it’s such a hot issue for those across the spectrum, especially when the Latino vote is so critical?
According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, the candidates indeed are talking about immigration. Just not in English. Both candidates have been airing Spanish-language ads speaking to the immigration issue so as to gain the crucial Latino vote without alienating the general public (i.e. non-Spanish speakers) about this highly contested topic. While the article has a decidedly McCain slant to it, the overall question of why both candidates remain tight-lipped about immigration in English but are spending campaign ad dollars to sway the Latino vote is an interesting one.