Patt Morrison for October 19, 2011

How should President Obama and the GOP court the Latino vote?

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Last summer, immigration rights activists in Los Angeles gathered for a rally calling on the government to act on immigration overhaul legislation. Strong Latino support helped President Obama win in 2008, but his support among those voters is slipping.

How important is the Latino vote in 2012 and what are presidential hopefuls doing to court it?

Republicans talked tough about illegal immigration during last night’s debate in Nevada, competing over who would build the most secure fence around the border, and clashing over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s admission years ago that he once unknowingly hired an undocumented worker. Some strategists worry that such tough talk on immigration will not be well received by Latino voters and are urging Republicans to change course.

On the other side of the aisle, President Obama has been losing ground with his Latino base. A new report out today details the record number of deportations carried out under his administration and just how disproportionately affected Latinos are by the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program.

What’s the strategy on both sides and what do you want to hear from candidates?


Darry Sragow, attorney; longtime Democratic political strategist

Rod Pacheco, Republican strategist; former republican leader in the state assembly

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