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In Wisconsin, Latinos are few, but they have the power to define the outcome of the elections

2020-10-21T02:09:51.112Z

Wisconsin has voted Democratic in every election since 1988, except for 2016, when its constituents elected President Donald Trump. Hispanics could make a difference if the race is defined there by a handful of votes.



WASHINGTON.— The Latinos who reside in Wisconsin do not reach half a million inhabitants, but they are essential workers for the dairy industry and other sectors of the economy.

In this year's presidential election, they could help define the winner of the White House, according to activists mobilizing their vote.

Wisconsin is among the states that will be key in the elections this year, as it may lean towards one party or the other, and that explains why both the president, Donald Trump, and his Democratic rival, the former vice president, Joe Biden, woo their voters fiercely.

[Follow our coverage of the presidential elections]

With the exception of Trump in 2016, the state, located in the

Rust Belt -

named for the decline of the industrial sector in the late 1970s - has supported Democratic presidential candidates since 1988.

This year, tens of thousands of voters in Wisconsin are expected to vote early on Tuesday, October 20, through November 1.

According to the Pew Research Center, Hispanics make up 4.2% of the electorate in Wisconsin, but for one of the most contested states, a handful of votes could tip the balance toward either candidate.  

José Patiño, 33, of Mexican descent and father of two children born in the United States, voted this Tuesday for the first time in Wisconsin.

Activists from Voces de la Frontera mobilize the Hispanic vote in Wisconsin in favor of Biden, as a vote of punishment against President Donald Trump and his immigration policy.

Photo courtesy of Voces de la Frontera Action / Noticias Telemundo

“Before I thought like many Latinos, that it is lazy or that it is difficult to vote, but it is easy and fast.

There is a lot of information on how to vote, and my wife helped me, ”said Patiño in a telephone interview with Noticias Telemundo from the city of Green Bay.

Patiño, who immigrated from Guanajuato 15 years ago and obtained citizenship a decade ago, said

he and his wife voted for Biden because Trump "wants to remove DACA, and we have friends and family who would lose everything they have achieved with that permit."

"It doesn't seem fair to me, because that has helped them to improve themselves, and with that they also help the economy," he stressed.

Patiño was referring to the 2012 “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program, which the Trump Administration began dismantling in 2017, but remains in effect for permit renewal thanks to court rulings.

Patiño was among the Latinos who answered the call of Voces de la Frontera, an organization that 

mobilizes Hispanic voters through its Voceros por el Voto campaign.

"Our goal is to mobilize 23,000 Latinos to the polls, which exceeds the margin of victory that Trump had in 2016, and we only need 4,500," Christine Newmann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, told Noticias Telemundo. who has been organizing Latinos and other immigrants in Wisconsin for 20 years The Voces group.

"The role of these 'Spokespersons' will be to encourage other Hispanics to vote for Biden," said Newmann-Ortiz,

Currently 42% of Hispanics are eligible to vote, but Newmann-Ortiz celebrates that

28,000 Hispanic youth will be

eligible for the

first time this year,

a number that exceeds the margin that Trump achieved in 2016.

Four years ago, Trump scored an unexpected victory in Wisconsin, with

a margin of advantage of just 0.77%,

over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

He also won narrowly in Michigan and Pennsylvania - which together with Wisconsin formed a Democratic "retaining wall" - and will be key this year for both candidates. 

No one can win without the Hispanic vote

and Wisconsin is one of the states that Trump has to win;

When the margin is this narrow, that's where Latinos can make a difference, ”observed Newmann-Ortiz, who in 2018 managed to increase the participation of Latinos by 17%.

Latinos who make themselves felt in Wisconsin

The nearly 413,000 Latinos, who make up 7.1% of the population in Wisconsin, according to 2019 data from the Census Bureau, have left their mark on the economy of this northern state and are beginning to do so at the polls.

The Hispanic community, primarily of Mexican origin, has had a presence in Wisconsin since the 1880s, when they began to build communities and establish social, economic, and religious institutions.

For decades they have also organized social movements.

“We cannot talk about political mobilization now without mentioning those first Latino communities.

Latinos have come to the state for many reasons, but lately it has been for the same thing that motivates other Americans:

the search for economic opportunities and a better life

, ”Sergio M. González, professor of Latino Studies at the University, told Noticias Telemundo. Marquette.

President Donald Trump participates in a political rally at a regional airport in Janesville, Wisconsin, on October 17, 2020. Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP via Getty Images) AFP via Getty Images

Challenges and progress

González has no doubt that Latinos "could play a fundamental role in the elections" on November 3, because they

are concentrated in areas of great electoral weight, such

as Milwaukee County, under Democratic rule, and in rural areas that They could lean towards either party, the so-called 'pendulum zones'.

Although it continues to grow, the Latino population will continue to be a minority compared to whites in Wisconsin for the foreseeable future, and in places like Milwaukee - which carries a legacy of racial segregation - Latinos and other minorities face considerable obstacles to their social and political advancement González said.

[Former President Obama criticizes Trump's efforts to suppress the minority vote]

To this must be added that the Republican Party, which dominates the state legislature and Supreme Court, according to González “

has led for more than a decade a campaign of manipulation of electoral districts

and

voter

suppression, which affects Latinos and blacks, especially in urban areas ”.

'Essential' workers and voters

Hispanics are the second fastest growing ethnic group in Wisconsin, where its population

has increased 95%

between 2000 and 2015, according to official data.

They are also a key piece of the state economy: 80% of the milk produced in Wisconsin, its most important product, is the work of immigrants, most of them Hispanic.

They also have a strong presence in the agricultural, fishing and manufacturing sectors.

Not all of these new Hispanics will be able to vote, however.

In all, there are about 75,000 undocumented immigrants in Wisconsin, or 24% of its immigrant population, in addition to 6,540 covered by DACA, according to a 2018 analysis by the American Immigration Council (AIC).

These are the issues that will determine the Latino vote, according to a Naleo poll

Oct. 16, 202000: 54

But many of the immigrant families in Wisconsin have mixed immigration status, that is, they can include naturalized, permanent resident, or undocumented aliens.

Between 2010 and 2014, in fact, 43,101 children born in Wisconsin lived with at least one undocumented relative in that period, according to the AIC.

For this reason,

immigration is an issue that mobilizes Latino voters in Wisconsin, in

addition to health and the economy, according to Newmann-Ortiz.

“In Wisconsin the majority of Latinos oppose Trump… we have been having a greater dialogue with them since 2018, and I think they

now have a better understanding of the damage that he has caused to the Latino community,

to immigrants,” said the activist.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2020-10-21

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