Tag Archive | "Immigration"

High Latino Support for Obama in Spanish Harlem

Latinos most concerned with economy and immigration

By Griselda Denise Ramirez and Mea Ashley

A constant flow of people entered a public school through a fenced-in playground in East Harlem on Tuesday to cast their votes — most of them Latinos who said they voted for President Barack Obama.

The preferences of the highly Latino-populated community, sometimes known as Spanish Harlem, mirrors the results of a survey by the Pew Hispanic Center released last month.   The study found that registered Latino voters favor Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 69 percent to 21 percent.

Lida Cabeza, of Colombia, voted at Public School 72 located on East 104th Street.

“I am very interested that Obama wins because he truly is with all the people that need the most help – the elderly and children,” said Cabeza. 63. “He provides lots of help for the poor.”

Omar Batista walked about a block from his home to P.S. 72 to vote for the first time. Batista, 31, said he was excited to vote for Obama.

“It is great,” said Batista. “I feel like I now count.”

Batista, who was born in the Dominican Republic and has been living in Manhattan for the past 22 years, made his voting experience a family affair. His mother and two uncles accompanied him to the voting poll.

His main concern: the economy.

“It worries me that someone who wants to increase taxes for the middle class gets to be president. That troubles me,” said Batista. “As the middle class we have to work really hard for our money.”

According to a Pew Research Center study, 54 percent of Hispanic voters cite jobs and the economy as the top issues on their minds.

Daniel Olivarez, also from the Dominican Republic, voted for Obama a second time.

“There are many Hispanics who are part of the high unemployment rate,” said Olivarez, 48. “I hope that in the second term the president can resolve that.”

Olivarez said he has a few family members and relatives who are not yet American citizens. He said he hopes Obama wins so he can implement the immigration reform he promised in his first term.

Amid the high number of Obama supporters who voted at P.S. 72, there was at least one Romney supporter– Nancy Padilla, 65. Padilla, born in Puerto Rico, said Obama hasn’t done much in his four years as president to minimize the deficit, which is $1.1 trillion.

“I like all of Romney’s qualities,” said Padilla. The reasons she gave echoed the concerns of Obama voters. “He’s promised a lot of good things – education, helping immigrants and the economy,” she said of Romney.

According to the Pew Center, nearly 24 million Hispanics are eligible to vote, an increase of more than 4 million since 2008. Hispanics represent 11 percent of the nation’s eligible electorate, up from 9.5 percent in 2008.

Olivarez said that he and his family plan to watch the election returns at home on Tuesday night as they eat a traditional Dominican Republic dish of chicken, white rice and beans.

“Now let’s wait to see what happens,” said Olivarez. “Then we’ll celebrate.”

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