Report: National Latino Groups Urging Iowa Hispanics to ‘Bird-Dog’ ’16 Candidates over Amnesty

DRM Action Coalition
DRM Action Coalition

Iowa is hardly Nevada, but national Latino organizations are reportedly organizing Hispanic voters in Iowa to be more vocal and confront 2016 presidential candidates on issues like immigration and amnesty.

According to a report in the Des Moines Register, Iowa Latinos “are planning to raise $500,000 to $1 million to help them have a bigger role in the 2016 Iowa caucus presidential campaigns.”

Their plans leading up to the first-in-the-nation caucuses reportedly include “conducting town hall meetings and ‘bird dogging’ Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to ask questions about issues important to Latinos” like comprehensive amnesty legislation. Other questions will be about “health, education and jobs.”

JoeEnriquez Henry, president of the Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens, “said he expects strong financial support from national Latino groups for the Iowa organizational effort.” He reportedly “just returned from a meeting in Washington, D.C., last week where national Latino leaders, particularly from California, said they want Iowa Latinos to be more heavily involved in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses in early 2016.”

“We need to make it known to the presidential candidates that we are an active community, that we are growing here in the Midwest, as we are growing across the country,” Henry told the Register. “We want a seat at the table, and we want to make sure that they know our issues.”

According to the outlet, Latinos made up “5.5 percent of the state’s population” in 2013 and Henry “said he believes there are about 73,000 potential Iowa Latino voters, and his organization has already identified about half of them through the state’s voter rolls.”

As Latinos in Iowa are gearing up their advocacy efforts, DREAMers from outside of the state have already made their presence known in the state. DREAMers confronted Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) last year and crashed this year’s Iowa Freedom Summit and accosted GOP speakers to pressure them on amnesty issues.