Thursday, October 30, 2014

10 Facts You Need to Know About Latinos and Immigration in Colorado

The Center for American Progress has provided this fact list about Colorado.  By 2040, more than one-third of Coloradans will be Latino, up from one-fifth today. The Latino population—documented or not—already makes vast contributions to the state’s economy and electorate, but Colorado’s shifting demographics will give this key voting bloc even more influence in the coming decades.

Here are 10 facts you need to know about Latinos and immigration in Colorado.

  1. Colorado’s Latino      population is substantial.      In fact, 21      percent of Colorado’s 5.3 million residents are Latino. This is nearly      4 percent higher than the national average. Colorado is one of just nine      states with a Latino population of more than 1      million people.
  2. Nearly 1 out of every 10      people in Colorado is foreign born. Even so, Colorado—at 9.7 percent      foreign born—lags behind the national average of 12.9 percent.
  3. A generational shift is      evident in Colorado. By 2040, 34      percent of Coloradans will be Latino. Latinos in Colorado are, on      average, much younger—26 years old—than the white population—40 years      old—and three-quarters of Latinos in Colorado are native born.
  4. Latinos in Colorado have      personal ties to undocumented immigrants. Immigration is a deeply      personal issue for Colorado’s Latino voters: A full 63      percent know someone who is an undocumented immigrant, while another 35      percent know people who have been deported or detained.
  5. As Latinos become an      increasing share of the Colorado electorate, they will continue to reshape      its politics. Rep.      Mike Coffman (R-CO) represents a good example of how shifting demographics      have affected the politics of the state. When he first went to Congress in      2008, he was a hardliner      on immigration, voting against the DREAM Act and other pro-immigrant      policies. After redistricting in 2010, the demographics of Rep. Coffman’s      district changed, adding a substantial      number of Latino voters. Not surprisingly, Coffman evolved      on immigration in 2012 and took a more positive position on the issue. In      2013, he even came out in favor of a pathway      to citizenship for some unauthorized immigrants.
  6. Immigration politics      played a decisive role in the 2010 election. In the last midterm      election cycle, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) won 81      percent of the Latino vote against Republican opponent Ken Buck, who      campaigned on a harsh anti-immigrant platform. Sen. Bennet’s win was part      of the “Latino      firewall” that kept the Senate in Democratic hands.
  7. Immigration could once      again play a decisive role in the 2014 Senate election. The race between      incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R) is one of the most      competitive this year. This race may come down to the Latino vote, and the      latest polls have Rep.      Gardner slightly ahead in the polls. However, with Latino voters      comprising 14      percent of eligible voters, and with immigration a key      and personal issue for Latino voters in Colorado, the politics of      immigration reform could swing the race—and the balance of the Senate.
  8. Immigration reform may      also be critical to one of the most competitive House races. Rep. Coffman’s race for      re-election in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District against Democratic      challenger and former Colorado House speaker Andrew Romanoff, one of the      most competitive      races in the nation, could come down to the Latino      vote and the issue of immigration. The two men are vying for a seat in      a district that is about 20      percent Latino. Rep. Coffman and Romanoff have engaged in English and      Spanish debates in order to sway the Latino vote. Rep. Coffman, while      supporting a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, has opposed      pro-immigrant measures in the past, such as the Deferred      Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
  9. Immigrants are integral      to Colorado’s economy. If Colorado’s unauthorized population were able to gain      legal status, the 10-year cumulative increase in gross state product would      be $15.8      billion. When undocumented immigrants gain citizenship, they will pay      an estimated $681      million in new tax revenue over 10 years, creating 2,300      jobs annually and further improving the economy and prosperity of all      Colorado residents.
  10. Latinos add tens of      billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to Colorado’s economy. The 2012 purchasing      power of Colorado’s Latinos totaled $21.8 billion, an increase of      454.5 percent since 1990.

Colorado has already shown how pro-immigrant positions can be key to winning over Latino voters. With growing Latino influence in the state, how both parties talk about immigration reform will matter greatly to the state’s future political and social climate.

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