For Immediate Release: October 24th, 2012
Colorado Immigrant Voters Speak Out
Swing State Voters Outline Issues of Importance for Elected Officials
Denver, Colo. - Colorado's immigrant voters may hold the key to the 2012 elections, but they haven't heard enough from candidates on issues that matter to this crucial voting bloc, according to state leaders. Representatives from the Asian American/Pacific Islander and Latino communities outlined top issues for whoever takes office next term.
"Having registered and mobilized voters in all parts of the state and getting to meet hundreds of families at their doors, I have seen and heard first-hand the issues that immigrant voting families are talking about," said Victor Galvan, civic engagement coordinator for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. "Fixing the broken immigration system and rolling back Arizona-style 'show me your papers' laws in Colorado are at the top of the list."
Citing the disastrous impact of Colorado's draconian anti-immigrant law, SB 90, combined with federal detention and deportation programs such as Secure Communities, immigrant leaders stressed the need for inclusive state- and federal-level policies that restore trust and dignity to immigrant communities. They noted that these policies have so far not gotten enough attention, despite the fact that voters from immigrant families comprise 5.4 percent of Colorado's electorate.
"Over 50 percent of Colorado's Asian American community immigrated here," said Stephanie Tanny, chair of Asian Pacific Americans for Progress - Colorado. "As a result, our political views vary greatly, but one thing that does unite us is immigration."
Colorado has emerged as one of a handful of key swing states in the 2012 election, and experts believe the state could be a must-win for either major party candidate hoping to occupy the White House in January 2013. Current polling projections list each candidate's lead within the margin of error, leading pundits to believe that Colorado could be won by either candidate.
Immigrant leaders on today's call stressed that immigrant voters, especially those voting for the first time, will expect state and federal leaders to both work toward a federal solution to fix our broken immigration system and disentangle immigration enforcement and local law enforcement work, which would begin to restore trust between immigrant communities and local police. Many of the leaders who spoke today were also members of the Campaign to Unite Colorado, which seeks to empower immigrants and their families by raising awareness of immigrant issues.
"One out every ten Colorado registered voters is a Latino," said Miriam Peña, executive director of the Colorado Progressive Coalition. "Investment in this population not only is an investment in a critical voting bloc that will determine the outcome of any election, but this population also is a constituency that will only continue to grow."
The Campaign to Unite Colorado was launched on September 15, 2012. Through the campaign, a public hotline was created to allow Coloradans to report immigration abuses that have occurred since implementation of SB 90.
"The immigrant vote has been steadily increasing since 1990," said Rudy Lopez, national field director of the Center for Community Change. "The immigrant vote in Colorado can really make a difference in being able to affect the outcome for one candidate or another."
For more information about the Campaign to Unite Colorado, please visit: www.coloradoimmigrant.org/unite
To listen to audio of today's telephonic press briefing, please visit: http://bit.ly/UDQsKn
# # #