News Coverage

02 January 2024

THE LATIN TIMES: Top Latin Times Stories in 2023: Politics and Immigration for U.S. Latinos

Category: News Coverage

2023 has been a year of both historic progress and persistent challenges for Latinos and Hispanics living in the United States. From record political representation to ongoing struggles with immigration reform and gun violence, as well as impressive economic performance, the year has been a microcosm of the complex realities facing this vibrant and diverse community.

These the top stories of the year:

Latinos and Hispanics in the U.S. reach 63.7 million

The population of Latino and Hispanic heritage in the country is now 63.7 million, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau analyzed by the Pew Research Center. While more than half of the Latino population is of Mexican origin (32.7 million), there's a transformation of the population makeup of the country as more immigrants from other Latin American nations increase year by year. In all, the Census predicts, this demographic, which currently represents 19.1% of the U.S. population, will soar to 26.9% by 2060.

Political Power on the Rise

One of the most significant developments of 2023 was the surge in Latino political representationThe 118th Congress, as voted in the midterms of November 2022, elevated the presence of Latino lawmakers in the House of Representatives to 49 and 4 in the Senate, reflecting the growing Latino electorate and its increasing clout. This milestone marks a step towards greater political voice and influence for Latinos on issues ranging from immigration to healthcare to education.

Immigration Reform Stalemate Persists

Despite the growing political power of Latinos, comprehensive immigration reform remains elusive. Bipartisan support for some form of reform exists, but Congress has failed to pass any major legislation. This leaves millions of undocumented immigrants in limbo, facing the constant threat of deportation and family separation.

The stalemate continues to be a major source of frustration and anxiety for the community. One of the worst effects of this stalemate is that it leaves millions of undocumented immigrants in limbo, facing ongoing risks of deportation and family separation.

Supreme Court Rulings Shape Immigration Landscape

The Supreme Court has played a significant role in shaping the immigration landscape in 2023. In June, the Court upheld the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy, requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their court hearings. However, in October, the Court struck down another Trump-era policy that denied green cards to immigrants who had used public benefits. These rulings highlight the ongoing legal battles surrounding immigration and their profound impact on the lives of millions.

Latinos Fueling the US Economy

Latinos are the fastest-growing demographic group in the US workforce, playing a vital role in various industries. The Gross Domestic Product generated by Latinos in the U.S. grew by $400 billion, reaching $3.2 trillion, according to the Latino Donor Collaborative. This means that if Latinos were a country, it would be the fifth-largest economy in the world.

Gun Violence Takes a Toll

The ongoing epidemic of gun violence has disproportionately impacted Latino communities in 2023. The tragic school shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Highland Park, Illinois, served as stark reminders of the urgency of gun control measures.

Latinos have been at the forefront of advocating for stricter gun laws to protect their communities and children.

Climate Change and Environmental Justice

Latinos are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, facing issues like air and water pollution, extreme weather events, and displacement from their homes. According to the 2023 Environmental Policy Toolkit from the Hispanic Access Foundation, most members of this demographic live in three states that are heavily affected by climate change: California, which is 40.3% Latino or Hispanic,Texas, with 40.2%, and Florida, with 27.1% of its population. A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that Latinos are exposed to 1.4 times more air pollution than the national average. Environmental justice movements led by Latinos are demanding equitable solutions to climate challenges and advocating for cleaner communities.

Roe v. Wade: The Latinas' plight

The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has had a significant impact on Latinas, raising concerns about access to reproductive healthcare and abortion rights. Birth rates increased in every state where abortion bans have been implemented since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a recent study showed. Among the key findings, researchers found that Latinas experienced the highest growth in the rate of births. A study by the Institute of Labor Economics, showed that birth rates increased by an average of 2.3 percent in states that implemented abortion bans compared to the those that still have protections in place. Research showed that the impact of the Court's decision was "especially large for Hispanic women," with a birth rate increase of 4.7 percent.

DACA program is on the edge, but students get a break

While the DACA program, which protects young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, remains under threat, causing uncertainty and anxiety for the Dreamers community, thousands of students got relief as the Biden administration announced a $9 billion debt cancellation.

This relief comes as millions of people are expected to struggle financially as the federal student loan system starts running again, after a three-year hiatus.

Written by Alejandro Angeles for The Latin Times.

About Us

Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

Contact Us