largest Latino group supports Biden in battleground Arizona, while highlighting ballot measures

The country’s largest Latino group, on Tuesday, officially endorsed President Joe Biden in Arizona. In addition to this endorsement, the group also announced its commitment to mobilizing Latino voters to participate in the upcoming elections, particularly to influence potential ballot measures related to abortion, minimum wage, and immigration. According to the group, these measures hold significant importance in motivating Latino voters to exercise their right to vote.

Janet Murguía, the president of UnidosUS and its political arm, UnidosUS Action Fund, has officially endorsed Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. In addition to their endorsement, they have also thrown their support behind several Democratic candidates. This includes Rep. Ruben Gallego in his U.S. Senate race, as well as Raquel Terán and Kirsten Engel in their respective House races.

In the highly competitive state, there are proposed measures that seek to address key issues. Voters may be asked to legalize abortion and increase the minimum wage. Additionally, the Legislature is set to vote on a Republican-backed immigration measure that includes various proposals. One such proposal is to establish a state law similar to Texas, which empowers police to arrest individuals who are in the country illegally and allows judges to deport them.

“We are taking a holistic approach to this state,” Murguía explained. “While the national presidential election holds great importance for us, we also recognize the potential to capitalize on the voter turnout to secure representation in Congress … and not only that, but also to address the critical issues that directly affect our community, such as the minimum wage … and, of course, the ongoing fight for women’s reproductive health rights.”

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Arizona Republicans have successfully won a state Supreme Court decision to enforce an 1864 near-total abortion ban. Despite facing opposition in their efforts to repeal the ban, a few Republicans ultimately joined forces with Democrats and the governor has now signed a repeal of the law.

Murguía emphasized the power of endorsements, stating that they can have a positive impact not only on individual candidates, but also on the broader community and various issues at hand.

UnidosUS has endorsed the state as tensions rise over immigration. This situation is reminiscent of the atmosphere that prevailed over a decade ago, when the anti-immigrant measure SB 1070 was in effect. This controversial law granted police in the state the power to question individuals on their legal status in the country for any reason. However, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a significant portion of this law, known as the “Show Me Your Papers” law, as it recognized that immigration enforcement falls under federal jurisdiction rather than state authority.

Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, simultaneously employed racial profiling as a component of his anti-immigrant crusade. His tactics involved subjecting detained migrants to degrading measures, such as dressing them in pink underwear and confining them in sweltering tent camps.

UnidosUs, along with other organizations, participated in a boycott of the state, resulting in a significant decline in tourism revenue and business sales.

Enrique Davis Mazlum, the Arizona state director for UnidosUS Action Fund, expressed his concerns about the proposed immigration measure, stating that it would be a step backwards rather than forwards. He explained that if the measure were to be approved, it would potentially lead to discrimination, including racial profiling, targeting immigrant and Latino individuals in places where they should feel safe, such as schools, churches, and hospitals.

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According to Murguía, the organization and other groups are now more equipped to resist policies that are detrimental to the Latino community.

She expressed, “We have discovered our voice and realized the significance of our vote. We have witnessed numerous achievements when we unite and exercise both.”

According to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), approximately 855,000 voters in Arizona’s upcoming November election are projected to be Latino. This represents a significant portion, accounting for 1 in 4 voters in the state.

In 2020, the number of Latino voters in Arizona increased to 814,000, compared to 543,000 in 2016, as reported by UnidosUS’ Hispanic Electorate Data Hub.

In the 2020 election, Biden emerged victorious in Arizona with a narrow margin of 10,457 votes. Latino voters were considered to be pivotal in his success, as their support played a decisive role in flipping the traditionally Republican state. While Biden managed to secure a majority of Hispanic voters, Donald Trump also gained some ground, and recent polls indicate that he may enjoy even greater support in the upcoming election.

UnidosUS, in partnership with Voto Latino, Mi Familia Vota, and Latino Victory Project, has allocated a total of $50 million for initiatives focused on registration, canvassing, media purchases, and voter turnout. Davis Mazlum emphasized their specific focus on engaging individuals residing in urban areas and communities along the U.S.-Mexico border who may not have a strong track record of voting.

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