Pro-immigrant coalitions in the Big Apple reinforce campaigns to boost the young Latino vote

Just hours after the agonizing effort of the 2020 Census ended last week, community-based coalitions revamped their machinery to now focus on boosting the Latino vote of the youngest in the neighborhoods of the Big Apple, with only two weeks to go before the presidential election.

The calculation of organizations that stand up for immigrant rights in New York City is very clear: in 15 days the most important elections in recent history will be held and although in theory thousands of undocumented could be outside this accountin practice within the so-called mixed families, every day more voters are added who can define these challenging elections.

Every 30 seconds a Latino turns 18, according to our investigations. And those young people now of voting age, from a very young age are watching their parents sacrifice themselves in this country. they also suffer how they are treated because of their immigration status”indicated Yesenia Mata, director of the organization La Colmena de Staten Island, who promotes the initiative “My vote is our vote.”

The activist assured that in these next few days they will accelerate, in multiple ways, the expansion of the message so that thousands of Hispanic working class people understand that they can have within their reach “the power to transform the country through the vote.”

“Undocumented people do have a voice”

“We have observed that in every corner of the city the cases of parents who cannot afford to pay are multiplying, but their children born in this country do have that right. That is an indicator that the undocumented do have a voice. to transform this state of fear, xenophobia and racism, where our people suffer, but also our economy”, said Mata.

The central message of the campaign that started this Monday on the different social platforms is that many immigrant parents have made an effort to give their children a promising future in this country, and now it is the children who have the power to decide for their parents by voting in these upcoming elections.

Much of the young new yorkers who are part of this campaign have siblings or cousins ​​who are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Such is the case of the New Yorker Evelyn Bueno, 18, who studies in Queens Colleague to be a teacher and is the first of a family of Ecuadorian immigrants that you have the option to pay.

“What motivates me to be part of this initiative is that finally I am the voice of my family group. My sister is 21 years old and is covered by DACA. I want us to move forward. Many times young people think that voting is not worth it. I am currently the only one in my family who has this opportunity and I am going to take advantage of it ”, she commented.

The director of the La Colmena center, Yesenia Mata, reinforces the message about the value of voting in undocumented families. (Photo: Jorge Fuentelsaz EFE)

Looking for an “educated vote”

La Colmena’s initiative is not the only one. The New York Immigrant Coalition (NYCI), the Hispanic Health Network and the Latino Commission Against AIDS promote the initiativeTogether, Together we are stronger’” that through their different networks and community contacts try to encourage participation in this electoral process.

“After having closed a very complicated census that will present many challenges in the responses to the health problems of the most vulnerable, we are in a civic race for an educated vote, that it be a step towards economic, migratory and inclusion relief for those who suffer the most”, argued Guillermo Chacón, director of the Hispanic Health Network.

The strategy of ‘Together, Together we are stronger’ is to integrate in the short term of two weeks of the electoral campaign and a few days before the beginning of the early voting period, to other ethnic groups of youth such as African Americans who share the same challenges of overcoming poverty and discrimination.

“These are various groups that have been under attack and have responded in a divided manner. Through our community contacts and campaigns on social networks, a key means of communication, we are trying to educate for the vote. One of the lessons of 2020 is the need to integrate”, said the activist.

Also the organization Make the Road New York (MRNY) has oiled its machinery to promote this week the mass of messages about the importance of voting.

“We have already driven more than 100,000 calls and have sent more than 50,000 text messages to immigrant, Latino and black voters, focusing especially on places like Long Island. And we will continue to lead these efforts because we know that we need to go out and vote for a dignified future for our people,” he reported. Antonio Alarcón, coordinator of MRNY Civic Participation 2020.

The immigrant vote

  • 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in November’s nationwide elections, surpassing the number of eligible black voters for the first time, a Pew Research Center report shows.
  • 16.7 million people in this country live with at least one undocumented family member.
  • 12% of immigrants were eligible to vote in the year 2000.
  • 23% of immigrants are now eligible to vote, representing 10% of the nation’s electorate, according to the same research.