Thursday, June 12, 2014
Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report that examines the rising political influence that children of Latino immigrants have on the electoral process. The report, titled “The Latino Electorate by Immigrant Generation” finds that second-generation immigrants—children of immigrants—are the fastest-growing segment of the Latino electorate. These voters care deeply about immigration reform and know from firsthand experience the dysfunctions of our nation’s broken immigration system.
Coming on the heels of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)—one of the key blockers of immigration reform in the House of Representatives—losing his primary, while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)—a key proponent—won his, this report’s findings should be a wake-up call to politicians. The numbers do not lie. As the Latino electorate grows and becomes more constituted by the children of immigrants, winning over the Latino vote will only become more difficult for those who actively block progress on immigration reform.
Here are the key findings from the Center for American Progress’s analysis of the Latino electorate and the implications it will have on future elections:
Immigrants and their children are an increasing share of the Latino electorate: Immigrants and their children made up 49 percent of eligible Latino voters in 1996. This share climbed to 55 percent by 2012.
Second-generation immigrants are the driving force behind the growth of the Latino electorate. Between 2012 and 2016, 3.3 million Latino citizens will turn age 18. Of these, 57 percent, or nearly 2 million, are the children of immigrants.
Each day, the vast majority of the nearly 2,000 Latinos who turn 18 and can vote come from an immigrant household.
Immigrants and their children are more likely to vote than third-generation immigrants. Therefore, as immigrants and their children become a larger share of the Latino electorate, the voter turnout rate for Latinos will likely increase.
As immigrants and their children make up a larger share of the Latino electorate, the importance of immigration reform will only continue to grow for the electorate as a whole.