×

Clinton? Sanders? Rubio? Who's winning the Latino vote?

Many Latinos today blame President Barack Obama for the continuing stagnation of the Latino community. As the son of a former Cuban political prisoner, I am eager to see immigration reform, and I am sympathetic to those who feel the political frustration. However, I disagree that Obama is to blame. Though we haven't had reform, Latinos are flourishing under this president.

Under Obama's administration, the rate of Latinos under the age of 65 without health insurance has plummeted. According to The National Center for Health Statistics, the uninsured rate for all Latinos under the age of 65 is about 21.2 percent, down from 30.3 percent in 2013.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Hispanic 18 to 24 year-olds enrolled in college has reached a new high—2.4 million—and has been growing since 2009.

Now, it's time to focus on the choice of our next president. Ask yourself, what's the alternative? Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, although fellow Cubans, seem woefully misaligned with the majority of Hispanic values, despite pandering to have us believe otherwise. And we certainly can't support a big wall with a "Trump" logo on it, or the candidate who demonizes Latinos and calls new immigrants rapists and murderers.


Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton
Getty Images
Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton

No. I stand by Hillary Clinton this election as she not only has the experience needed to make the necessary changes, but also has intentions of keeping immigration issues a priority.

"We need comprehensive immigration reform with a path to full and equal citizenship. If Congress won't act, I'll defend President Obama's executive actions – and I'll go even further to keep families together," Clinton said.

This is exactly what we need.



With Hillary and Bernie Sanders neck and neck in the Nevada polls ahead of Saturday's caucus, each candidate has been working to convince Latino voters, 27.8 percent of the population according to a 2014 Census update, of their pro-Latino stances.

However, what is so striking to me is the apparent line divided between young Latinos and their parents. While state polling has been minimal, nationwide polls show that many millennial Hispanics are Bernie supporters, despite their parents' pro-Clinton agendas.

Bernie's draw is his "dream big" mentality – equating economic reform with redistribution of wealth. His casual demeanor is a huge sell on college campuses across the nation. The problem with this train of thought, which Clinton has spoken to, is that economic theory alone does not solve discrimination or race relations.

Instead, Hillary focuses on real issues facing voters, most notably immigration concerns – evident in her jarring and emotional campaign ad that shows Secretary Clinton comforting a young girl in tears over the fear of her parents' deportation.

With Trump doing his best to scare Latinos voters away from Republicans, the fight for their vote is clearly within the Democratic Party – a fight that the Clinton campaign didn't anticipate at this point in the race.

As expected, Bernie came out ahead in New Hampshire, but after the loss, Hillary spoke about the necessary changes to come, "People are angry," she said, "but people are also hungry. They are hungry for solutions, so what are we going to do?"

Well I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to vote for Hillary.

Commentary by David Mejias, a Long Island attorney specializing in family and divorce law. In 2003, Dave Mejias became the first Latino elected to the Nassau County Legislature, where he served from 2004 to 2010. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Foundation, the charitable branch of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association where he has previously served as President. He is a managing partner at Mejias, Milgrim & Alvarado where he has practiced law for 18 years. Follow him on Twitter @davemejias.