Editors' pick: Originally published April 19.
This should be the year of the Latino voter. Issues critical to native-born and immigrant Latinos are coming to a head just as its electoral power appears close to fulfilling its political expectations.
On Monday, the Supreme Court began to hear oral arguments in United State vs. Texas, a case brought by Republican governors to overturn President Obama's 2014 executive orders aimed at addressing the immigration status of four-to-five million people living in the U.S.
On Tuesday, New York holds its primary, a contest that could serve as a preview to a much larger Latino voter turnout in November which activists hope will energize public support for immigration reform and support for such measures as raising the federal minimum wage. Latinos are the country's fastest growing ethnic voting group.
"Latino voter turnout has been up through these primaries, but it will really hit full bloom in the general election," said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the San Antonio-based Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, in a phone interview from New York. "The election is going to be best ever."
Latinos are expected to comprise more than 10% of the electorate in November; in 2012, they accounted for 8.5% of the general election vote. The rising numbers are due in part to a voter registration rush spurred by inflammatory comments from Donald Trump and others Republicans about immigrants. Trump's labeling of Mexicans as "thieves" and "rapists" has alarmed Latinos, both citizens and undocumented immigrants, jump-starting voter registration efforts in key battleground states such as Nevada, Colorado and Florida.