New Hampshire’s largest minority is feeling left out.MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 9, 2012 — Some New Hampshire Latino voters say they’re worried that Republican presidential candidates aren’t adequately addressing the issue of immigration and that they’re afraid their votes won’t count.
“Immigration is important to me and those in the Latino community, and I think that those currently campaigning are not addressing this issue,” said Mexican-American businesswoman Paloma Silvestre. “I go to a church where the majority of us are Hispanics. In conversation within my community, people are looking for the candidate that acknowledges Latinos.”
Silvestre is part of a very small percentage of Latino voters in New Hampshire. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, fewer than 37,000 of New Hampshire’s 1.3 million residents are Latino.
“ Many times we are afraid to vote because we think our vote does not count, but it does count, it has to count, we are the biggest minority,’ she said. “We need to go out and vote, not only because of us, but cause we have sons and daughters who need to start learning about this process, because this country is made up of immigrants.”
Latina Lillian Vargas-Mahoney agrees.
“If we don’t vote, we can’t send a message to Washington that we are a community that is developing and needs the support of the next president, ” she said.
Vargas-Mahoney has been working to increase Latino turnout by distributing pamphlets in Spanish at churches throughout Manchester.
“There is an issue that is very important to us, and that is immigration.” she said. “Our children deserve the opportunity to succeed in this country. Until now, I haven’t seen many candidates addressing the issue of immigration in a positive way.”
Also contributing to this story was Maria Arreguin.