How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

How black, Latino and Asian American voters delivered Obama's victory

U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

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A directional sign points the way to a polling place inside El Mercado de Los Angeles, a Mexico-style marketplace in East L.A. on November 6, 2012.

Exit polls are showing that overwhelming majorities of Latino and Asian American voters - more than 70 percent of each group - voted to re-elect President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Together with black voters, who reportedly supported Obama in even higher proportions, these voters of color are credited with carrying key states for Obama and ultimately assuring his victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Data so far has suggested that Latinos made up 10 percent of overall voters, a record number. At the same time, the non-Latino white percentage of the American electorate  is on the decline. Does this election signal a tipping point in the influence of voters of color - or has that happened already?  

Pollster Matt Barreto of the Latino Decisions firm has closely tracked the attitudes of Latino voters in the runup to the election. The firm has calculated that 75 percent of Latino voters - in the same range national exit polls have estimated so far  - cast votes for Obama on Tuesday. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates from its exit poll analysis that Latinos voted 71 to 27 percent for Obama over Romney.


Romney's plan to eliminate deferred action prompts some young immigrants to apply

Deferred Action

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Hopeful deferred action applicants at a recent orientation workshop in Los Angeles.

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made comments to media about the Obama administration's deferred action program, chances are he wasn't planning to inspire new applicants for temporary legal status. But it seems he has.

The program, which took effect in August, allows young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to apply for a two-year reprieve from deportation. Romney commented last week that if he is elected, he'd honor the reprieves already granted, but his campaign later clarified that he would eliminate the program. And this, in turn, has prompted some would-be applicants who’d sat on the fence to get their paperwork ready.

One is 24-year-old Vanessa Guerrero of Fontana, who had hoped to eventually apply for deferred action. But like other young undocumented immigrants, she’d hesitated admitting her status to the federal government. That changed last Friday, when she marched into a downtown Los Angeles immigration attorney’s office, ready to start the application process.


'It'd be helpful if they'd been Latino': What was Romney really expressing?

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Mitt Romney speaks at a fundraiser in Dallas on Tuesday.

A comment made earlier this year by Mitt Romney about his family's roots in Mexico is drawing some heated reactions, and it's not because he declared himself Mexican American (he didn't).

In the by now famous "secret video" made of Romney speaking during a fundraiser in May in Boca Raton, Fla., Romney digs into his heritage like this: dad, you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents I'd have a better shot at winning this, but he was [audience laughs] unfortunately born of Americans living in Mexico. They'd lived there for a number of years, and, uh, I mean I say that jokingly, but it'd be helpful if they'd been Latino…

That's from a transcript of the video as posted this week by Mother Jones; the video can be viewed/heard here.


Romney and Latino voters: Does he stand a chance?


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Mitt Romney waves after speaking during the 2012 Republican National Convention this week in Tampa, Florida, where he accepted the GOP nomination.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney secured the Republican presidential nomination this week, but polls indicate that he has a long way to go in order to secure the support he needs from Latino voters that could help him win the White House.

Unlike former Republican president George Bush, whose immigration message resonated favorably enough to win him substantial Latino support, Romney hasn't scored well there. The most recent Latino Decisions tracking poll had 26 percent of Latino voters polled saying they would vote for Romney, versus 65 percent saying they would re-elect President Barack Obama. This is far from the goal that Romney's campaign has set, which is that he'll need 38 percent of the Latino vote in order to win.

Does Romney stand a chance? It's highly unlikely he'll hit the 38 percent goal, says Louis DeSipio, a political scientist and professor of Chicano/Latino Studies at UC Irvine. But there are still a few targeted approaches that Romney's campaign can take in states where Latinos might help tip the balance. Here he explains how.


Reactions to Romney-Ryan (and not Romney-Rubio) as GOP team

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Announces Rep. Paul Ryan As His Vice Presidential Pick

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GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney introduces his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in Ashland, Virginia, Aug. 11, 2012

In case anyone is just waking up now, Republican presidential candidate and nominee-apparent Mitt Romney has opted not to go with a Latino vice-presidential candidate, after months of speculation that he might.

Romney announced this morning that he has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the chair of the House Budget Committee described by Reuters as a "conservative budget hawk," over the oft-mentioned Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, or the sometimes-mentioned Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico.

It wasn't an unexpected move. Critics had never quite warmed to the idea of Romney choosing a Latino candidate, and the conversation had always been surrounded by talk of how it could be perceived as pandering to win much-needed Latino votes.

Now that we know who Romney's running mate will be, here are a few early reactions to his not choosing a Latino veep candidate.