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      Friday
      Nov092012

      The Latino-ization of the United States

      As Mike Davis predicted several years ago, Latinos are becoming major, even majority, constituencies in metropolitan areas and workplaces across the country, and in the prized Electoral College states of California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois. We are becoming a country of color, with Latinos the largest bloc. 

      Obama himself recognized Latinos in the Southwest as the decisive force in making his victory – or Romney’s defeat – possible. A top priority for Obama this year therefore will be “comprehensive immigration reform,” which will almost certainly pass the Senate with a filibuster-proof majority. If such a reform package dies in the House, the Tea Party Republicans may die on their shrinking battlefields in the 2014 Congressional elections.

      In the meantime, the Dreamers will seek to codify Obama’s executive order in law, again putting Republicans in both chambers on the spot. The Justice Department will continue its efforts to monitor and curb the flagrant anti-immigrant policies of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona, who has become the equivalent of “Bull” Connor in the 1960s. Latinos and immigrants will continue to be the driving force in the regional successes of organized labor, aided by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. If there is an increase of the federal minimum wage during Obama’s second term, it will be in large part due to the leadership of Latinos in the ranks of organized labor and immigrant rights groups.

      The African-American community has developed an increasing solidarity with Latinos and immigrants in spite of every effort to divide them over jobs and “values.” The white radical left will have to re-awaken its capacity to act in support and solidarity with Latino struggles on a level not seen since the solidarity movements of the 1980s. Latinos are rapidly becoming the center of gravity for any permanent progressive majority in several regions and the nation as a whole. Obama has gradually cemented their support, starting with his English version of "¡Sí se puede!" back in 2008 and evolving to his personal presence at the dedication of the Cesar Chavez national monument in La Paz during the height of the presidential campaign.

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