If this last election taught us anything, it’s that Latinos cannot be ignored. They matter. As the fastest expanding minority group in the country, they have and will continue to have an important role in this country’s elections.
That means Republicans need Latinos. Democrats need Latinos. America needs Latinos.
And what is it that Latinos want? The same thing most Americans want: good paying jobs, an excellent and affordable education, and a chance to achieve the American dream.
It isn’t all about immigration reform, and yet, it is immigration reform that drove the conversation this past election and will continue to drive the conversation until reform is finally implemented.
No, most Latinos are NOT undocumented. But many Latinos do know someone who is undocumented, and almost all Latinos know what it means to be the subject of doubt, the one who is most likely to be pulled over and asked for proof of citizenship. They know what it means to be categorized as “illegal.” They know what it means to be hated simply for the color of their skin.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a new concept in this country. Black Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans have and continue to feel the sting of racism, of doubt, of less-than full integration into a white-dominated culture.
But now, more than ever before, Latinos have at their fingertips the makings of a perfect storm. With Black Americans deserting the Republican Party, the GOP is struggling to find a way to hold on to this crucial minority, and they know immigration reform may be the only way to do so.
In the coming weeks, Arizonans will have an opportunity to be at the forefront of a major immigration reform movement. Business leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, and others will soon unveil a plan to move this state and this country forward. How Arizona’s politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, respond to this initiative will set the stage for the future of both parties.
It is an exciting time to be in Arizona. The world will be watching us. Let’s hope this time we find a way to crawl out from the ashes of embarrassment and rise above our racist image as a state ready to lead.
Azcvoices.com is a network of community bloggers created by The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com and 12 News to highlight diverse viewpoints. Members' opinions do not represent the views of Republic Media.
Bio: The story behind this blog begins in 2007 when, on an ordinary September morning, my world was unexpectedly smashed to pieces. A drugged-up gang banger with multiple arrests and outstanding warrants crossed my husband’s path. As my husband and his partner attempted to arrest him, he pulled a gun and shot my husband twice in the back of the head.
The murder of a Phoenix police officer is big news. Bigger still is the fact that this happened at the hands of a previously deported illegal immigrant in a border state rife with contentious immigration battles.
As I listened to the politicians and pundits spin my husband’s death to further their interests, my journalism background came into focus and I found myself doing my own research into the causes and possible solutions to our nation’s immigration problems. I also gained an awareness of what it was like to be on the opposite side of the lens. I had been a member of the media, and now my family was the subject of the story.
When I went public with my views on immigration, I was drawn even further into the political web of Arizona politics, and though I shied away for a time, I felt I could no longer be silent.
And so I created this blog, my editorial on the challenges facing our state and our nation. My expectation is that it will be used as a source of reasoned debate to elevate our discussions in a thoughtful and informed manner while seeking solutions to complex problems. I hope the differing opinions expressed by myself and others will both challenge and motivate individuals to work for the greater good.