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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Immigration Talk

An article in today's New York Times about A Hispanic Electorate With many Variations does a decent job of talking about the challenges of appealing to the Hispanic vote in New Mexico. It leads off with an anecdote about how Teresa Heinz Kerry's attempt to identify with the immigration issue fell flat when she tried it in Albuquerque last weekend. I touched on this issue when interviewed for an alt-weekly coverage of Hispanic issues, although the writer didn't go into a great deal of depth. The Times does a good job of explaining why the immigration issue, so important to Mexican immigrants, doesn't resonate with native Hispanics, many of whom have been in New Mexico for eight generations, though it didn't fully explore the racism against Mexicans by some Hispanics in this state. It also looked at how the political demographic has changed over the last 50 years in New Mexico, and the ways in which FDR's New Deal changed the politics of the state, transforming many Hispanics into Democrats. It didn't, though, really touch on the ways in which the Republican appeal to Hispanics could be along semi-religious lines, when it comes to party issues of abortion and gay marriage. This was one of the ways in which Jorge Ramos discussed the diversity of Hispanic issues when I interviewed him last month, noting that while some Hispanics identify politically with the Democratic Party, they may be more socially conservative when it comes to certain issues.