Massive Voter Registration and Mobilization Efforts Strengthen the Case for Immigration Reform in DC, and Pro-Immigrant Policies in Albany
NEW YORK, NY - November 7, 2012 - Yesterday, Latino voters made history again. Millions of Latino and immigrant youth, workers, parents, new citizens, stepped out of their homes to cast decisive votes in national and local elections, and with their votes they sent a powerful message to elected officials across the country: "we demand respect and dignity for our families, in our workplaces, and in our communities".
As the polls closed and families gathered to watch the election results, the members of Make the Road New York (MRNY) celebrated the achievements of one of our most ambitious voter registration and voter mobilization efforts.
MRNY's Campaign for Respect and Dignity mobilized hundreds and volunteers, registered 11,642 new voters of color across Long Island and New York City, and contacted almost 20,000 voters to turn them out to vote. And working with the Center for Popular Democracy and Casa in Action, MRNY registered over 7,000 Latino and African American voters in Pennsylvania.
"The growing influence of the Latino vote in this election is not just a matter of changing demographics" said Javier Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, "it is the result of concerted efforts by immigrant organizations to organize, register and turnout thousands of Latinos and immigrant voters to the polls and make a powerful demand for action on the issues that matter to our communities. And tonight's election proves that we are succeeding".
Hundreds of immigrant youth and adults volunteered for the Campaign. Many of them were first-time voters like Marisol Castellanos, a young new citizen who said "Today I voted for the first time and felt proud to represent my community. Tomorrow I will be marching in Washington and turning up the heat on the President and Congress to pass the DREAM Act, keep families together, and make immigration reform happen once and for all."
Starting now, MRNY will redouble its efforts to win pro-worker and pro-immigrant policies in New York State and Washington.
Working with Firm Immigration Reform Movement, a coalition of the largest and most powerful grassroots immigrant rights groups in the country, MRNY will launch the most ambitious effort to date to protect immigrant families and win immigration reform. Thousands of immigrant families will march in the streets of Washington in December, and thousands more will go back in the New Year
And in New York, low-wage immigrant workers will travel to Albany in December to demand that the Governor and Legislature pass a bill to raise the minimum wage. And in January, MRNY will bring hundreds of immigrant youth to Albany to demand passage of the NYS DREAM Act and NYS DREAM Fund, legislation that will open access to higher education for undocumented youth.
Katherine Tabares, an undocumented youth who spent the summer registering other young people to vote, summarized the sentiment of immigrant voters today. "The votes of our community are powerful. Not all of us can vote, but we can honor our powerful votes by working harder than ever before to win dignity and respect for our communities. That is our mandate".