Immigration Concerns Driving Latino Voter Registration in Florida

Oct 5, 2012 –

Seventy percent of Latino voters are “very enthusiastic” about voting, while 57 percent are more enthusiastic about voting in 2012 than in 2008., according to a new poll presented at the Latino Voter and Politics of Immigration forum at the University of Miami on October 4.

Jonathan Rodrigues, who grew up in the large Brazilian community in Pompano Beach in Broward County and spoke at the forum, said the Latino voters he has encountered in the field as an organizer for Florida New Majority “are excited to vote, all they want from us is information and mobilization.”

Florida New Majority Education Fund’s non-partisan volunteers and staff have been working to register voters in urban areas in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. The organization has so far registered more than 10,000 voters, with a goal of 15,000 by Oct. 9.

“Hispanic voters in Florida heavily favor President Obama, strongly back his immigration positions and are highly enthusiastic about voting,” noted Miami Herald political reporter Marc Caputo, also a member of the panel discussing the new survey of 400 registered Florida Hispanics conducted by Latino Decisions for America’s Voice.

Caputo wrote in a follow up article that, “Obama pulls 61 percent Hispanic support compared to 31 percent for Republican Mitt Romney,” according to the poll.

FNM’s Rodrigues added that all panelists agreed that, given the demographic shifts, Latino voters are very important in the 2012 election. The efforts to mobilize Latino and Haitian communities in South Florida will put pressure on elected officials to advance immigration reform over the next four years.

Panelists agreed that the GOP’s anti-immigrant positions make it hard for Mitt Romney’s party to get the 40 percent of Latino voters needed to win the November election.
Romney has said he will veto deferred action, does not support the DREAM Act, and has spoken about “self-deportation.”

Rodrigues said that harsh GOP anti-immigrant rhetoric targeting Latinos has heightened acceptance of the term Latino among Spanish speaking people who usually identify more by their country of origin.

Florida New Majority organizes, educates, and mobilizes communities in Florida to win equity and fairness throughout the state, on issues such as jobs, affordable housing, quality healthcare and public education, transportation, immigrant and civil rights for all Floridians.