Univision, the largest Spanish language television network in the United States, has interviewed candidates in past elections, but this will be the first time that the network has had any candidate participate in such a long, extended discussion. Univiison is advertising the forum as the first to “directly address topics of importance to the Hispanic community.”
The Hispanic vote has become increasingly important in recent elections; Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic in the United States, and both parties have made overtures to try to win them over.
Next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., will feature a number of popular Hispanics conservatives in prominent roles, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz. The Romney campaign has also stated that its goal is to attain 38 percent of the Hispanic vote, a full 7 points better than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won in 2008. However, the party has faced criticism for bills passed by GOP-controlled state legislatures that aim to crack down on illegal immigration; opponents of the measures allege that the laws will lead to discrimination against Hispanics.
The Democrats announced Wednesday that they will begin a new Hispanic outreach campaign titled “Mi Congreso Mi Voto,” which means “My Congress, My Vote” in English. Obama’s executive order granting work permits to Hispanics who were brought into the country illegally by their parents also went into effect recently, but critics charge that the law move is unconstitutional. Furthermore, 10 Immigration Customs and Enforcement officers sued Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Thursday, asking courts to overturn the administration’s order on the grounds that it directs them to violate federal law.