Obama Latino Vote Poll: Romney Will Win if He Offers Citizenship to Immigrants

A recent CBS News report showed that more Latinos support Obama than Romney. Romney, then, promised "not to divide families and grant citizenship for military service providers." But, as the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 suggested in their report, Obama’s announcement to no longer pursue deportation of certain individuals contributed to increased support among Latinos who want citizenship. Romney should take this into consideration when formulating his immigration policy to gain Latino votes. 

Romney needs to consider granting citizenship to non-criminal undocumented immigrants instead of deportation or limited safeguards against deportation. This policy would gain him enough Latino votes to possibly win the presidency, but it could cost him anti-immigrant support if does not use his position as an entrepreneur and business man to empathize with anti-immigrant advocates. 

Romney can only garner a limited number of Latino votes, ensuring his loss to Obama, because Latinos feel Romney supports policies that discriminate them. Anti-immigration laws, which Romney tends to support, were designed to remove undocumented immigrants from California in 1994. Californians wanted them out because they placed a heavy burden on the state government to provide social services.

California created the crime of illegal immigration. This crime eventually caught on throughout the U.S., and Americans used undocumented immigrants as scapegoats for most economic problems. As a result, Latinos view deportation as discrimination and just want it to end. They do not want undue punishment for coming into the U.S. undocumented. Instead, they want a chance at justice, which means acquiring citizenship – exactly what Romney should do.

Granting citizenship would definitely win Romney Latino support, but those who lose their jobs will still want justice in the form of punishment for undocumented immigrants. 

Many Americans, including third- and fourth-generation Americans of Latin descent that are successful business owners, feel as though undocumented immigrants "steal from them." In a culture where the right to get paid according to a person’s work is valued, people who take these earnings in the form of social services -- and cheap labor that were not offered to them -- is considered by many as a violation of Americans’ rights. 

Americans do not want people they view as "thieves" to just are able to have no punishment and get off freely with an amnesty of citizenship. Instead they want these people punished with deportation.

Granting citizenship might make Romney lose the support of anti-immigration advocates. But if he can show that even as an entrepreneur who empathizes with anti-immigration advocates, he still believes citizenship will get him the most justice, not amnesty, Romney could retain the votes of anti-immigrant advocates.

In any case, if Romney comes off as sincere, he could win highly populated Latino states or pro-immigrant states – Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio – giving Romney enough votes to overtake Obama.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Jacinda Chan

Jacinda graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a dual bachelor's degree in rhetoric and political science. She is currently pursuing a masters in international criminal justice at the University of Portsmouth. She is fluent in German. Since then, she has done various research and writing internships covering Turkish politics at the Diplomatic Courier, writing reports on legal systems in the Middle East, and researching the entire human rights history of Iran and Egypt. At the Levin Institute, she wrote news analysis about human rights in Latin America.

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