• Local Latino group looking beyond presidential election

    By: Torie Wells


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The nation’s fasting growing demographic is getting credit for helping President Barack Obama win re-election.

    Hispanic voters came out in droves for the presidential race.

    One local activist group said they’re now focused on how to execute change for the community.

    "I voted because no kid should have to worry that their parents come home," said Mary Espinosa, a Charlotte voter and member of the Latin American Coalition.

    Espinosa hopes the election outcomes will positively impact her family. She said some of her family members are undocumented.

    "I'm nervous but at the same time I think it's time now more than ever to organize," Espinosa said.

    The Latin American Coalition is beginning to lay out its agenda Wednesday, now that the election is over.

    "Locally we ask Charlotte officials to dismantle the 287(g) program," said Jess George, executive director of the Latin American Coalition.

    That is part of immigration law that allows state and local officials to act as immigration officers.

    The coalition is calling on state politicians considering immigration reform to stay away from legislation similar to Arizona's controversial law. Part of that was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The group also wants the federal government to pass a comprehensive immigration policy.

    "We have a rapidly growing Latino electorate which is making a deep impact in our state," said George.

    That is why the coalition says lawmakers need to listen to this community, those who can vote and those, like Selene Medina, who encourage others to. She would like to see a North Carolina law passed that allows undocumented immigrants the same in-state tuition as everyone else.

    The higher cost almost prevented her from going to school. She wants her sisters to have the same chance.

    "I do this work so they can go to school," said Medina.

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