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2.8 million reasons to run hard

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Filed: Timeline

By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

January 22, 2008

Hillary Rodham Clinton has munched on tacos in East Los Angeles and Barack Obama has joked around on Southern California's top Spanish-language radio program "Piolín por la Mañana," both carefully orchestrated attempts to connect with wavering, undecided Latino voters like stay-at-home mother-of-two Denise Mendoza.

"I think it's funny, comical even," said Mendoza, 25, of Glendale, who has tuned into most of the presidential debates and surfed through the candidate's websites. "I guess they have to do these desperate things in an election, but I'm not going to vote for someone just because they go to King Taco."

Mendoza's amused indecision shows the difficult task candidates face to win over California's estimated 2.8 million Latino voters, an increasingly influential and diverse bloc that draws political power from multiple and sometimes contrasting sources: labor unions, foreign-born Spanish-speakers, activist organizations and established political bulwarks in the Legislature and in cities such as Los Angeles and Santa Ana.

Opinion polls consistently have shown that Latino voters, like Democrats overall, favor Clinton, but the overall margin has shrunk.

That, and the lack of a consensus candidate supported by labor leaders and organizers of the massive immigrant rights rallies of 2006, have provided an opening for Obama and to a much lesser degree John Edwards.

"I think there will be a contest. There is no champion for the Latino community at this point in the political season. Nobody has separated out," said Antonio Gonzalez, president of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project in Los Angeles.

"They have to make their case now. And we are different," he said. "If Latinos ran America, we'd have no border wall, illegals would be legal, we wouldn't have invaded Iraq, and we'd have universal healthcare." :help: :help: :help:

Latinos probably will account for 20% to 25% of the vote in the Feb. 5 Democratic primary, Gonzalez said, which explains Clinton and Obama's devotion to Southern California's Latino neighborhoods over the last weeks. Latinos will be a lesser factor in the Republican primary as they account for only 8% to 10% of likely voters, he said.

Though Clinton's and Obama's tactics have differed, their messages have been somewhat similar, with both promising to preserve jobs, address healthcare needs, withdraw troops from Iraq and protect immigrant rights while still securing the border.

The Obama campaign has targeted Latino union organizers and left-leaning immigrant rights groups, scoring a major victory with the personal endorsement of Maria Elena Durazo, the influential head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and a leader in the immigrant rights rallies.

Clinton has stuck to a more traditional political path, lining up high-profile Latino leaders, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez and United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta, to help rally support.

Edwards and the Republican candidates have been focusing most of their energy on South Carolina and other state contests, and have yet to make high-profile pushes for Latino support in Southern California.

Mike Garcia, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 1877 in Los Angeles, said Clinton appears to hold an edge among many Southern California Latinos who count themselves among working poor.

But that support is fragile, said Garcia, whose union members include janitors and security guards. "I think the support for Hillary is not that deep, but it is wide. That is my impression from talking to people, and my members," Garcia said.

The service-employee union's state council backs the pro-union Edwards, but local organized labor -- especially among those representing large numbers of Latino workers in the service and construction sectors -- is splintered.

The national International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has backed Clinton, and Durazo said her decision to back Obama was in part influenced by her national home union, Unite Here, which endorsed the Illinois senator. The county federation she leads has not endorsed a candidate.

Durazo said she believes that Obama's compelling life story -- the son of an immigrant father, raised by a single mother, ultimately devoting himself to public service after graduating from Harvard Law School -- will resonate with working people.

"The Latino community doesn't know about Senator Obama, his name is not automatic like the Clinton name," Durazo said. "I think that once the Latino community has the opportunity to know who he is, then they can have the choice between whoever they want. I wouldn't want our community to learn about him after that fact and when it's too late."

Still, Obama begins at a disadvantage among Latinos, who have often found themselves in competition with African Americans for jobs. The results in Saturday's Nevada caucuses underscore the issue.

Entry polls showed Clinton won two-thirds of the Latino vote, despite an aggressive effort by the Obama campaign to court those voters.

Clinton supporters, however, say her popularity among Latinos has more to do with her accomplishments than any bias against her chief rival.

"The Latino community, they know Hillary Clinton and they just don't know Obama. They say, 'Señor, ¿como se llama?' " said Huerta, who has campaigned for the New York senator in California and across the country. "That's just the lay of the land."

With organized labor and its leaders divided, many voters undecided and the absence of any campaign ad war targeting California Latinos, there could be major shifts in the electorate before the Feb. 5 primary, said Los Angeles-based political consultant Yvette Martinez Bracamonte, a former political director for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California).

"Right now, I think the campaigns are looking at the numbers and they know the Latino vote is up for grabs," she said.

The schism was evident Friday, when Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) announced she was endorsing Clinton -- just hours after her younger sister, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood), endorsed Obama.

Loretta Sanchez said she was swayed by Clinton's successful push to create a low-cost health insurance program for children, and by Clinton and her husband's longtime devotion to those in need, including support for student loan programs and Head Start, all of which have helped residents in her district.

Linda Sanchez said she was impressed by Obama's ability to mobilize voters and bring them into the process. He also has not wavered on his support to give illegal immigrants an opportunity to come "out of the shadows" and eventually become citizens -- and allowing them to apply for driver's licenses, she said.

"He inspires people, and that's not an easy thing to so," Linda Sanchez said.

One of the more complex undercurrents in this courtship of Latino voters flows from the 2006 immigrant rights protests that gave birth to a potentially powerful political base.

Thus far, the loose coalition of local, grass-roots immigrant rights groups that helped organize the marches has not coalesced behind a Democratic candidate. Instead, many groups are simply trying to heighten turnout in order to maintain public pressure for immigration reform.

"The candidates very traditionally are going to the institutional, elite-type leaders that we have in our community -- major union leaders, the politicians like Nuñez and Villaraigosa -- and they're not mobilizing the activists that were responsible for organizing the march," said Armando Navarro, an ethnic studies professor at UC Riverside who also helps coordinate the National Alliance for Human Rights, an immigrant-rights network.

Obama has made an effort, and last month met with an array of immigrant rights advocates.

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, a fluent Spanish speaker who was an early supporter of Obama, helped arrange the meeting.

Last week, both Obama and Clinton also did radio interviews with Los Angeles host Eddie Sotelo, known to listeners as El Piolín or Tweety Bird, who played a key role in promoting the immigrant rights marches on his popular Spanish-language show.

Sotelo, whose show is nationally syndicated, graciously asked both senators about immigration reform, but by far was kinder to Clinton. Sotelo thanked her for "the support you have given us" to pass comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Obama promised Sotelo that, if elected president, he would come back on the show.

When interviewed the following day, Clinton upped the ante: "We'll broadcast your show from the White House."

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Filed: Timeline

Blacks and Latinos are competitors in many parts of the country. Some rivalry is natural and perfectly within the tradition of ethnic rivalries in America.

On another note: Illegals will vote for Hillary, early and often. Another proud American tradition.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Blacks and Latinos are competitors in many parts of the country. Some rivalry is natural and perfectly within the tradition of ethnic rivalries in America.

On another note: Illegals will vote for Hillary, early and often. Another proud American tradition.

How the illegals will vote?


I-130 Timeline with USCIS:

It took 92 days for I-130 to get approved from the filing date

NVC Process of I-130:

It took 78 days to complete the NVC process

Interview Process at The U.S. Embassy

Interview took 223 days from the I-130 filing date. Immigrant Visa was issued right after the interview

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Filed: Timeline
Blacks and Latinos are competitors in many parts of the country. Some rivalry is natural and perfectly within the tradition of ethnic rivalries in America.

On another note: Illegals will vote for Hillary, early and often. Another proud American tradition.

How the illegals will vote?

:thumbs::whistle:

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They vote in Jersey. ID requirements are lax. It's so bad that Hudson county (the pit of corruption in this state) birth certificates are no longer accepted by USCIS for immigration purposes.

Oh come on! How is that possible? Why don't you bring it to the Hudson county's attention?


I-130 Timeline with USCIS:

It took 92 days for I-130 to get approved from the filing date

NVC Process of I-130:

It took 78 days to complete the NVC process

Interview Process at The U.S. Embassy

Interview took 223 days from the I-130 filing date. Immigrant Visa was issued right after the interview

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Hudson county knows. They're an embarrassment up there.

I hope you are joking. But I can not believe it is true. Anyone can go to a polling booth and vote?


I-130 Timeline with USCIS:

It took 92 days for I-130 to get approved from the filing date

NVC Process of I-130:

It took 78 days to complete the NVC process

Interview Process at The U.S. Embassy

Interview took 223 days from the I-130 filing date. Immigrant Visa was issued right after the interview

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Filed: Timeline
Hudson county knows. They're an embarrassment up there.

I hope you are joking. But I can not believe it is true. Anyone can go to a polling booth and vote?

Not quite. You need forms of ID to get licensed, you need forms of ID to get registered. Those forms of ID can be procured illegally. This is not new. It's been happening since the days of Tammany :)


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Hudson county knows. They're an embarrassment up there.

I hope you are joking. But I can not believe it is true. Anyone can go to a polling booth and vote?

Not quite. You need forms of ID to get licensed, you need forms of ID to get registered. Those forms of ID can be procured illegally. This is not new. It's been happening since the days of Tammany :)

I know, they wanna see an ID, but during the very first voter registration, there should be a proof of US citizenship.


I-130 Timeline with USCIS:

It took 92 days for I-130 to get approved from the filing date

NVC Process of I-130:

It took 78 days to complete the NVC process

Interview Process at The U.S. Embassy

Interview took 223 days from the I-130 filing date. Immigrant Visa was issued right after the interview

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And we come full circle to the birth certificate.

This is the strangest thing I have heard. I hope, the authority cracks this practice down (vote even though not a US citizen).


I-130 Timeline with USCIS:

It took 92 days for I-130 to get approved from the filing date

NVC Process of I-130:

It took 78 days to complete the NVC process

Interview Process at The U.S. Embassy

Interview took 223 days from the I-130 filing date. Immigrant Visa was issued right after the interview

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Filed: Timeline
And we come full circle to the birth certificate.

This is the strangest thing I have heard. I hope, the authority cracks this practice down (vote even though not a US citizen).

They're no longer issuing US passports based on Hudson county birth certificates. For a while, they were:

You can no longer use birth certificates issued by the Jersey City/Hudson County Office of Vital Statistics (with the raised seal from Hudson County) to get a U.S. passport.

You must get a new certified copy of your birth certificate from the State Bureau of Vital Statistics and Registration. This is a requirement of the U.S. Department of State, which issues passports.

http://www.state.nj.us/health/vital/jerseycity.shtml


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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