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.

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

Deferred Action

Josie Huang/KPCC

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.

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

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

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:

...my 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.

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