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Hispanics Focusing on the Economy, too!

by on September 9, 2012

Excellent article on the 2012 President and Virginia Senate Elections published in the September 9, 2012 print edition of the News & Messenger newspaper.

http://www2.insidenova.com/news/2012/sep/08/guest-commentary-latino-voters-and-economy-ar-2189415/

Virginia’s proud Latino communities honor their Hispanic heritage this month.

However, weak economic job indicators and President Barack Obama’s actions regarding immigration have many veteran celebrants changing political preferences.

Pocketbook and patriotic issues motivate Virginia’s Latin community, which remains critical in this election. Former Govs. George Allen and Tim Kaine, both vying for the U.S. Senate, are greatly affected, along with the presidential candidates.

With more Hispanics serving in the military than ever, confounded are political attitudes over Obama’s presidential edict granting protection from deportation for certain illegals in our high schools and colleges or if they served in America’s armed forces.Furious are the communities of the “legally assimilated,” taking great offense at undocumented families being used as pawns to gain political advantage. A failure to fix the nation’s guest worker program or pass the Dream Act when Obama’s administration controlled both houses of Congress have Latinos seriously questioning their November votes.

So how many of Virginia’s 183,000 eligible Hispanic voters who obeyed immigration laws will support candidates who put their jobs in jeopardy? When government reports indicate that 10.3 percent of all Hispanic families are unemployed and 26.6 percent live in poverty, loyalties change.

Focused officials in localities like Prince William County, which are 20 percent Hispanic with a growing veterans community, understand the stakes.

“It is indeed about employment and wrong to put job security in question for veterans. Aside from the consequences of sequestration, there must be compassion for immigrants who proudly serve our nation,” states Prince William  Del. Rich Anderson, a retired Air Force colonel who chairs the General Assembly’s Military and Veterans Caucus. He correctly recognizes that new federal mandates can compromise veterans’ employment.

Jobs, parity and the quest for a better life are common denominators among immigrants from countries in conflict. Moving testimonials from RNC and DNC conventions chronicling elected Latino officials’ family histories resonate with millions of Hispanics with similar backgrounds who seek  economic prosperity.

My own grandfather fled a Mexican nation in revolution over runaway inflation, land reform, corruption and incredible taxation to become a Latin media business pioneer.  Hispanic seniors remind traditionally Democratic leaning families of President Kennedy’s 1962 statement, “Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus,” which inexplicably counters today’s Democratic Party tax increase requests.

Such are the kitchen table issues for generations of Hispanics who served honorably during WWII, Korea, Vietnam and in the Middle East. Utilizing their entrepreneurial spirit, Hispanics created millions of businesses in spite of immigration policies many consider a national disgrace.

America’s usurpation of existing laws regarding immigration further divides a proud people politically. Sadly, an inability to acknowledge our difficult immigration history with compassionate words or actions regrettably typecasts many Virginia conservative candidates. Conversely Democratic candidates pander to Latin communities by promoting welfare programs rather than responsibly addressing immigration to enhance job creation.

Hispanic votes in Virginia may indeed hinge on the unresolved immigration issue. Lacking considerable sensitivity, even some of Virginia’s tea party leaders wrongly embrace “a no immigrant, period” policy to protect jobs.

Demonstrating political diversity, over 100 of the Commonwealth’s Hispanic educators, business owners, community leaders and veterans gather Sept. 29 at the home of Theresa Alvillar-Speake of Northern Virginia for their yearly celebration of Hispanic heritage. This year they honor Senate candidate George Allen, who will receive their highest jobs creation award.

“Hispanics represent the fastest growing segment of the small business community. This election is about who best can represent this culture and promote jobs in our community,”  Alvillar-Speake added.  She reminds that Allen, as governor, helped create over 300,000 Virginia jobs.

While immigrants celebrate their proud heritage, Democratic strategist James Carvel’s words, “It’s the economy stupid,” echo as clarion reminders.

Are Republican and Democratic candidates listening? Hispanics are — and will vote with our wallets.

Daniel Cortez, a retired Northern Virginia writer and broadcaster, is a long time veterans and legal immigration advocate.

 

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