April 17, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

President Obama Risks Alienating Latinos From Democrats:

For the last 20 years – ever since passage in 1994 of California’s abortive anti-illegal immigrant Proposition 187 – Democrats here and around America have increasingly depended on Latino votes.

The 2.5 million California Hispanics who became citizens and registered to vote in the three years after 187 passed, with its bans on undocumented children in public schools and hospitals, made California a solidly Democratic state in almost every election since. The same could happen in current Republican strongholds like Texas and Georgia if Latinos were to become galvanized as they did here.

But all that may now be threatened by the steadfast deportation policies of President Barack Obama and his administration. While most of the 57,000 undocumented juveniles who crossed the border in the last year are still here, over his first five years in office, Obama presided over deportations of more than 1.9 million persons who were in this country illegally. That’s a massive increase from the 1.1 million deported in the last five years of George W. Bush’s presidency

Even as Obama deported their friends and relatives, the vast majority of Latino voters stayed with him and his party. When he ran for reelection two years ago, Obama took more than 75 percent of Latino votes nationally, accounting for most of his margin of victory.

Without those Latino votes for Democrats, California would once again become a tossup state, not one where Republicans lose almost every seriously contested election.

There is no sign of a major slowdown in the rate of deportations, despite frequent calls for one by Latino politicians from many states. One possible reason: Obama apparently sees the deportations as one way to fend off frequent, completely unsubstantiated claims from the Republican right that he is a traitor with a secret agenda of destroying America and should be impeached even though his term has only about two more years to run.

For whatever reason, deportations of non-citizens reached historic highs in the last few years. Since 1996, well over 3 million persons have been “removed” from this country, the word employed by federal immigration authorities to describe deportations. That number doesn’t count more than 10 million apprehended at or near the Mexican border and sent back immediately.

About 70 percent of deportees have been non-criminals, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics, with nine of the top 10 source countries in Latin America. Among those labeled criminal aliens, the most common crime is a traffic offense, according to a recent study by the Latino Decisions polling firm.

That same report shows why all this represents a threat to Democrats in future elections, if not this fall:

— Fully 63 percent of Latino registered voters (all of whom are U.S. citizens) say they know someone who is undocumented, an increase of 10 percent from two years ago.

— Nearly 40 percent of those same voters say they know someone now facing deportation or detention by immigration authorities.

Reports University of New Mexico Prof. Gabriel Sanchez, the study’s author, “Latino voters who know someone that is undocumented are 43.4 percent less likely to have a favorable impression of the President.”

Although the study did not measure this, it’s highly likely that knowing someone who faces deportation or has been expelled from this country will have an even stronger link to unfavorable feelings toward the Democratic chief executive.

For years, the single issue that has been most important to Latino voters has been immigration. The Republican Party’s obdurate opposition to allowing illegal immigrants some kind of pathway to citizenship, no matter how arduous, has kept most of them in the Democratic column, even many who are comfortable with GOP stances on other issues.

But the steady stream of record-level deportations threatens to undermine this strong support from the nation’s fastest-growing voting bloc.

All of which means Democrats in California and beyond ought to take advantage of the solid Latino support they now enjoy, because if deportations continue at their current pace, that support could diminish quickly in future elections.

in Opinion
Related Posts

SM.a.r.t. Column: Santa Monica Needs Responsible Urban and Architectural Design

April 14, 2024

April 14, 2024

[SMa.r.t. note: Eight years ago, our highly esteemed and recently-passed colleague Ron Goldman documented his thoughts on the need for...

SM.a.r.t. Column: BLINK NOW!

April 7, 2024

April 7, 2024

Nine years ago, I wrote a column for SMa.r.t. titled SANTA MONICA: BEACH TOWN OR ‘DINGBAT’ CITY? (https://smdp.com/2015/05/09/santa-monica-beach-town-dingbat-city/)Here is the...

SM.a.r.t Column: ARB Courage (Part 2 of 2)

March 31, 2024

March 31, 2024

Last week we discussed the numerous flaws of the Gelson’s project as a perfect example of what not to do...

ARB Courage (Part 1 of 2)

March 24, 2024

March 24, 2024

On March 4, 2024, your ARB (Architectural Review Board) ruled in favor of the 521-unit Gelson’s Project at Ocean Park...

SM.a.r.t Column: Can California ARBs Balance Affordable Housing with Community Character in the Face of New Housing Laws?

March 17, 2024

March 17, 2024

By suggestion, I attended the March 4th ARB (Architectural Review Board) meeting that addressed the Gelson Lincoln Boulevard Project.  After...

S.M.a.r.t Column: On the Need for Safety

March 10, 2024

March 10, 2024

Earlier this week, in the dark pre-dawn hours, a pair of thugs covered in masks and hoodies burst into the...

Film Review: The Oscar Landscape 2024

March 7, 2024

March 7, 2024

FILM REVIEWTHE OSCAR LANDSCAPE 2024A Look at the Choices – Academy Awards – March 10, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. on...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Five Saving Historic Santa Monica

March 3, 2024

March 3, 2024

Our beloved City is surrounded by many threats, from sea level rise to homelessness, to housing affordability, to cancerous overdevelopment,...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Gelson’s Looms Large

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

Our guest column this week is by SMCLC (the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City). SMCLC is a well-established...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Top Toady Town

February 18, 2024

February 18, 2024

Throughout history, from the ancient Romans and Assyrians to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, siege warfare has served as an...

S.M.a.r.t Column: The Sunset of Home Ownership

February 11, 2024

February 11, 2024

We are watching the sunset of our historical and cultural American dream of home ownership as we now are crossing...

SMa.r.t. Column: B(U)Y RIGHT

February 4, 2024

February 4, 2024

“By Right” state housing laws that give developers, in certain projects, the ability to ignore codes ‘by right.’ Well, that...

S.M.a.r.t  Column: Serf City

January 28, 2024

January 28, 2024

Homelessness is a problem in California, and nowhere is this more evident than in our fair city, where the unhoused...

S.M.a.r.t  Column: Bond Fatigue

January 22, 2024

January 22, 2024

Last week’s SMart article,  described two critical problems faced by our Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD): the declining...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Peace on Earth

December 27, 2023

December 27, 2023

We are all, by now, saturated with jingles, holiday cards, “ho ho ho’s,” countless commercial advertisements, and exhortations to feel...