For immediate release
October 20, 2008
As the region shifts into overdrive moving toward Election Day, local prominent leaders held a press conference this Wednesday to urge Latinos to pour into the polls. As national polls show a tightening election, the Latino vote will play a critical role in Virginia and in states across the country in deciding who will be the next President of the United States.
“We are facing a critical opportunity this election year to change the course of our broken economy and broken immigration system,” said Arlington County Board of Supervisors Chair Walter Tejada. “Latino voters are critical to making a difference throughout the region but particularly in Virginia,” said Chairman Tejada.
Immigration reform continues to be of increasing concern for Latinos since the disappointing defeat of comprehensive immigration reform in 2006. Under the Bush Administration, immigration raids have increased, hate crimes against Latinos and immigrants are on the rise, and the civil and constitutional rights of undocumented immigrants and even citizens and legal residents are being violated in the greatest immigration crackdown in recent history.
“This presidential election is critical in determining the future for the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country,” said Gustavo Torres, a local Latino leader. “The oppression of the undocumented has become one of the greatest human rights crisis of our time and as we look to history for lessons from the continuing battle for civil rights for the African-American community, we celebrate the opportunity for our Latino community to support this great candidate for President on election day,” said Mr. Torres.
At the press conference, Latino leaders described the historic difference that Latino and immigrant voters will make in many battleground states, including Virginia. Where Latinos make up 3% of the eligible voter population and the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California expects 9 million Hispanics to vote in the general election nationwide, an 18 percent jump from the 7.6 million who voted in 2004.
“Immigrant workers will either have more of the same, raids that terrorize our communities and tear families apart, or a new President who will stand with immigrant workers and push for an end to this type of oppression. Because of his consistent support for the undocumented, we believe Senator Obama is the right choice for President and we urge Latinos and immigrants to turn out in record numbers to vote for Senator Obama on November 4th,” said Jaime Contreras, District Director of SEIU Local 32BJ.