The United States has an estimated eight million green-card holders (legal permanent residents) whom are eligible to become U.S. Citizens, and the majority are Latino immigrants, this according to the U.S. government data.
The Wall Street Journal reports here on a campaign by Spanish Broadcaster Univision wants to change that and has begun to utilize it's regional stations to promote citizenship drives in Latino communities.
"We're not illegal, but we have family members who are," said Marina Gonzalez, who has been a legal permanent resident for 20 years. Once she gets her citizenship, Mrs. Gonzalez said, she plans to vote: "We want to have a say in these matters."The Latino constituency has long been considered a sleeping giant, a powerful voting block waiting to be harnessed, one that has the potential to swing key political campaigns in any given direction.
However, the reality is that in past elections Latinos, whom many categorize as mostly Democratic, don't turn out in significant numbers to vote and when they do, don't necessarily vote along party lines. An estimated 40% of Latinos voted for President Bush.
Will the illegal immigration issue galvanize Latinos and result in a historic turnouts at the voting booth, we will soon find out as the 2008 Presidential elections loom around the corner.
More importantly what type of constituency will political candidates face in the future. How will the millions of current legal permanent residents who become citizens shape future elections and U.S. policy, and what of the millions of undocumented immigrants (largely Latino), who may potentially earn guest worker status, then legal permanent residency and eventual citizenship. It's something both Republicans and Democrats are unsure of and a reason why the Strive Act includes significant fees and waiting periods of up to 15 years in order to attain US Citizenship.
How will the Democratic and Republican parties respond to these factors and are we seeing the beginning of the end of a two party system in the United States.
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