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The Latino Vote in 2016: Nearly One Million New York Latinos Voting on Election Day This November

First Posted: Apr 14, 2016 03:15 PM EDT
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Nearly one million of New York State's 1.3 million registered Latino voters are expected to cast ballots during November's presidential election, according to projections released by a non-partisan educational organization on Wednesday.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) expects about 955,500 Latinos in the Empire State will participate in the general election, an uptick of 14 percent from 2012. Then, New Yorkers accounted for 835,500 votes, a gradual 12.4 percent increase from eight years ago.

"As presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle attempt to shore up the number of delegates necessary to win their party's nomination, the race for the White House will continue to run through the Latino community," said Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund executive director, in a press statement.

"Candidates who choose to use the Latino community as a punching bag to score political points do so at their own peril. With more than 13.1 million Latinos expected to cast ballots in 2016, the Latino community will throw a knockout punch come Election Day," he added.

NALEO found New York's Latinos overwhelmingly vote to the left -- 70 percent are registered Democrats, compared to eight percent registered Republican.

While GOP candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have proposed extensive border security measures and plans to deport undocumented immigrants, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have catered to the ever-growing Latino voter base.

New York Latinos are split over the Democratic candidates. Clinton is viewed favorably nationwide, but a recent poll found she trails Sanders by a slim margin heading into next Tuesday's state primary.

Latino Advocacy Group Backs Clinton

Clinton gained a key endorsement Wednesday as the New York State Immigrant Action Fund (NYSIAF), sister to the largest immigration advocacy group in the country, pledged full support for the Democratic presidential candidate.

The NYSIAF, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering immigrants in New York, backs Clinton days before she and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders faceoff in the state's contentious Democratic primary.

Clinton accepted the endorsement by outlining immigration reform strategies that appeal to New York State's diverse voter base; she proposed funneling $15 million for grant programs that aid in the naturalization process, nominating a pro-DAPA and DACA Supreme Court justice, and providing lingual resources for Spanish-speaking immigrants.

Clinton Announced the Office of Immigration Affairs

The former New York senator will develop a national Office of Immigration Affairs that will collaborate with government agencies to ensure her proposals come about.

"It would build on the work of the Obama administration's task force and create a dedicated place in the White House to coordinate immigration policies across the federal government," Clinton said, speaking in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Hillary Clinton
(Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The presidential frontrunner gained a key endoresment from a Latino advocacy group on Wednesday, days before New Yorkers cast ballots in the state's Democratic primary.

Clinton's motivation stems from a Task Force President Obama initiation in 2014 aimed at studying integration strategies for new immigrants. Clinton would take their recommendations in creating the new office as to ensure "successful immigrant and refugee integration in every community."

Similar offices exist across the country, including in New York City, but none exist on the federal level.

"In too many communities, immigrants still face significant language, education, and economic barriers that prevent them from fully adjusting in their new home," read a campaign press release coinciding with Clinton's announcement.

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