Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Latinos Are Still Registering to Vote, Due To Donald Trump’s Campaign


Out of all American racial or ethnic groups, Latinos have the lowest turnout rate when it comes to voting. There are also plenty of missing votes that could come from the millions of Hispanic permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship but have not applied for naturalization. Raising the numbers of voting Latinos has been a top priority for Latino community organizations for years. Yet, the greatest results of Hispanic-American voter empowerment have come thanks to Donald J. Trump.

“A surge in Latino engagement is coming,” Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, told the Washington Post. “Unsolicited, people tell you that ‘I’m becoming a citizen because I want to vote against Donald Trump’ or ‘I want to vote against the attacks on our community.’” In Iowa, it is believed that five times more Hispanics voted in this year’s caucuses than in 2008. Also, voter registration among Hispanics is increasing faster in North Carolina and Georgia than amongst blacks or whites.

The Trump-fueled surge in Hispanic voter registration was first seen in March, when the federal government announced that naturalization rates jumped 14 percent in the last six months of 2015. In California, the Hispanic voter registration over the first three months of this year doubled compared to the first three months of 2012. In Houston, Texas, the city saw roughly 1,200 naturalization ceremonies each month, but that number has grown to 2,200 since Trump launched his campaign.

Many see Trump as a threat to security as well as to their community. The GOP nominee has promised to establish a “deportation force” with the possibility of rounding up and deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants. “Their concern is not unfounded,” Texas congressman Joaquin Castro said. “Is he going to stop with people who are undocumented? He seems like a quick step away from saying if you’re not a citizen, we don’t want permanent residents either.”

Regardless, Trump probably is not fully responsible for the registration surge. “Just less than half of the Hispanics who are old enough to vote were born after 1980. Since there are a lot of new registrations among younger voters (just reaching voting age, for example, or because younger voters move more frequently and may need to re-register), this could be part of what’s happening,” wrote political writer for the Washington Post, Philip Bump. A large part of this phenomenon is very possibly due to the young ages in the Hispanic population.

New York Magazine