Latinos: Economic scapegoats or election deciders?

Do bad economic times mean an increase in deportation or at least anti-immigrant sentiments? Some Latino activists fear history will repeat itself as Americans are faced with an increasingly shaky economy and look for scapegoats beyond Wall Street.

As The Sun, a San Bernardino, Calif., newspaper reports:

During the Great Depression, one-third of the country’s Mexican population was deported or pressured to return home. Many of them were American citizens.

The recession of the early 1950s forced nearly 3 million Mexicans to be sent home as a consequence of “Operation Wetback.”

A similar economic and financial meltdown could precipitate another massive deportation and removal program, activists say.

“In times of recession and times of depression, there is an escalation and intensification of anti-immigration politics,” said Armando Navarro, coordinator of the National Alliance for Human Rights. “Immigrants become the scapegoats.”

But Latinos represent a coveted bloc of swing voters in this election, and especially in Western states like Colorado, giving the growing number of Hispanic voters in the United States a larger voice in the future than they had in the past.

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