Immigration has been a top issue through several presidential election cycles. While Mitt Romney's immigrant rhetoric was certainly considered harsh in 2012, it now seems relatively mild in comparison with Donald Trump's blustery promise of build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. As the election approaches, Trump seems to have moved on to other topics, taking notable and ill-advised swipes at former Ms. Universe Alicia Machado of Venezuela. Trump plays by his own set of rules, but the fact remains that the GOP stance doesn't hold much appeal for most immigrants and their children, with Latinos skewing Democratic at least since the 1980s and Obama winning 71 percent of the Latino vote in 2012.
While past elections of seen large blocs of Latino voters in non-battleground states like California, New York and Texas, the Pew Research Center's Facttank is finding a shift in demographics. The U.S. has seen increase in the number of Latino voters eligible to vote, jumping from 23.3 million voters in 2012 to a projected 27.3 million in 2016. This represents 12 percent increase in the total number of eligible voters. It's projected that two-thirds of these voters will vote for Hillary Clinton.
This means that a number of states once Republican strongholds are now up for grabs thanks to this growing bloc of Latino voters - this includes most notably Arizona (22 percent of voters are Latino), Florida (18 percent) and Nevada (17 percent). While Florida has flip-flopped in recent years, voting for Bush and Obama, polls of Latinos in Florida look to be decidedly in favor of Clinton in 2016.
The big question with Latino voters is whether they actually show up since low voter turnout is traditionally an issue. One in five Latino voters say they will be voting for the first time with top issues being education, economy and health care with immigration also important with 70 percent of those polled. The fact is that Latino and other immigrant voting blocs will continue to gain influence in the years to come, shifting the political landscape here in Dallas and across Texas -- according to NALEO Educational Fund projections, 2.08 million Latinos are expected to cast votes in Texas in 2016, which is up from 1.89 million who voted in 2012.
Perhaps the November election will tamper down some of the anti-immigrant rhetoric in presidential politics once the voters have spoken, but it will also ideally help lead to sensible solutions for a number of immigration policies surrounding individuals, families and employers in the coming years.