Voters will go to the polls today in a number of states. On the ballot is the usual slate of candidates along with a handful of important ballot questions. Because most people will be focused on that important event today, I’ll keep today’s post short.
I’m based in Colorado where many pundits are focused on the very close race between incumbent Senator Mark Udall (Democrat) and his Republican challenger Cory Gardner. Udall has been blasting the local Spanish-language media trumping his support of immigration reform and making special references to his support of Dreamers. It’s worth noting that he voted in support of the 2013 legislation approved by the Senate that ultimately stalled in the House of Representatives without receiving a vote. According to the Denver Post, Udall described that vote has “the most important vote he has ever cast.” His challenger Cory Gardner opposes a single immigration reform package. His priority is on border “security.” Again according to the Denver Post, Gardner said, “The most important thing is to start with border security and border enforcement.” His official website repeats a version of this focus: “Our first line of defense against illegal immigration is the border, and it is the federal government’s job to make sure that it is secure.”
Colorado’s Latino population–at about 21% of the state’s population well above the national average–makes up 14.2% of the eligible voter pool. While immigration is of obvious importance to many Latinos, it is not the sole issue about which we care. Indeed, a recent survey by the Pew Hispanic Center found that 66% of Latino registered voters prioritize immigration law reform, but only 46% say a candidate’s position on immigration is a deal-breaker. Colorado’s Latino population may be more heavily influenced by immigration politics than Latinos elsewhere due to their extraordinary personal connection to the issue. Whereas 26% of all Latinos report knowing someone who has been deported or detained in the last year, 63% of Colorado Latinos claim to know someone who is unauthorized and 35% say they know someone who has been detained or deported. We’ll see to what extent we actually vote and how much we’re guided by Udall and Gardner’s positions on immigration.
Meanwhile, Californians will vote on Proposition 47, a ballot initiative with important crimmigration law implications. I wrote about Proposition 47 last week so I’ll simply summarize by saying that, if approved, it would significantly reduce the double punishment that many migrants face for engaging in criminal activity: first a criminal sanction, then removal.
Nationally, President Obama promised to use his expansive executive powers to improve the sorry state of immigration law and immigration law enforcement after the election. He’s made similar promises before only to delay action so we’ll see whether he sticks to it this time.
Now we wait for the results.