There’s nothing more American for Latinos than to cast our vote

latinos-cast-vote-nlciBy Maria Teresa Kumar, Ben Monterroso and Rocío Sáenz

In our country’s democracy, the greatest equalizer is our vote. Once we step into a voting booth, we’re bound by the one fundamental American value that connects us all: our ability to decide on the issues that matter to us and the candidates that most reflect our values. Each vote is power. And every election has consequences. For our community, sitting out has never been an option.

As Latinos, we’ve seen our political power grow during the last ten years. We’ve had victories on immigration, such as the implementation of DACA, a program that currently protects 700,000 immigrant youth from deportation. And we saw a comprehensive immigration bill, that while not perfect, would have put more than 8 million undocumented immigrants on a path toward citizenship, make it through the Senate.But we’ve also had setbacks. An expansion to DACA and a creation of DAPA, a program that would protect millions more from deportation has stalled in the courts by a politically-motivated lawsuit and the immigration bill never got a vote in the House. We’ve seen laws passed by states that restrict a woman’s right to quality healthcare and others that have gutted the Voting Rights Act. So yes, elections have consequences.

But we’ve also had setbacks. An expansion to DACA and a creation of DAPA, a program that would protect millions more from deportation has stalled in the courts by a politically-motivated lawsuit and the immigration bill never got a vote in the House. We’ve seen laws passed by states that restrict a woman’s right to quality healthcare and others that have gutted the Voting Rights Act. So yes, elections have consequences.

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