Interview: The Power Of Nevada's Latino Vote

Feb 19, 2016

Undocumented Mexican national Erika Castro demonstrates in front of The Venetian in Las Vegas before a GOP presidential debate on Dec. 12, 2015.
Credit Nick Oza / The Republic

Several reporters from The Arizona Republic have been visiting influential states heading into the presidential election. They’ve zeroed in on the immigration debate and what impact the country’s next president could have on immigration reform.

To learn more about what they've found out, especially in Nevada, our News Director Michelle Billman reached out to Michael Squires; he’s the paper’s government and politics editor.

Squires and his team have been on the ground in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida to examine how the issue of immigration is shaping this year's presidential election. 

"Whoever takes office can either take this issue up and try to bring people together to work toward a solution," Squires says, "or completely table it, and just have the continuing problems that we have now last for another four years."

Nevada is more diverse, and is home to many more immigrants, than the first two primary states, Iowa and New Hampshire. Squires says Nevada voters have a much more personal connection to the issue and that the volume at which Donald Trump has presented his anti-immigration talking points could hinder the entire GOP's reach in the state.

"He's gotten a lot of run out of saying, 'I'm going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.' Well, saying that in Nevada  has a different kind of resonance because you have a lot of Latino voters who are living that issue in a different way than the voters he's been targeting," Squires says.

Democrats saw a lethargic voter turnout nationwide in 2014, and Squires wonders if the immigration debate could be what drives them to the polls this time around.

"If they do feel imperiled, it could be a tremendous motivating factor."

Check out his team's full coverage here