Will Immigrants of Color Be Racial Justice Voters in November and Beyond?

Mari Ryono is the director of of development and evaluation of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote.

Angelica Salas is the executive director of The Coalition of Humane Rights of Los Angeles.

Aparna Shah is the executive director of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote.

In November 2010, the power of the emerging immigrant electorate became evident. Latinos in particular were credited with “saving the West” for Democrats by helping defeat anti-immigrant candidates and delivering victories to California Democrats such as Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris. In 2011, immigrant rights activists and voters helped defeat Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, the architect of the notorious anti-immigrant SB 1070. “The Latino vote is now seen as a game changer in this country,” said Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente.org. “Yet there is much work ahead to realize the promise. Collaborating with other communities of color to achieve power equity, justice and a more equitable economy is not only our responsibility as Latinos but required for our collective progress.

The 2010 U.S. Census underscores the growth of Latino, Asian and other immigrant populations in the United States. Currently, Asians represent nearly 6 percent of the total U.S. population, while Latinos remain the nation’s largest “minority” group at nearly 17 percent. According to Census Bureau projections, by the year 2050, the population of Asians in the U.S. is expected to triple to over 33 million. Latinos are expected to increase their numbers to over 100 million or, roughly speaking, 1 out of every 4 Americans. There are more than eight million immigrants with permanent legal residence who are eligible to become citizens in the United States.

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