DES MOINES, Iowa (NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump said the Latino community had the fastest growth in small businesses before the pandemic hit.
He has sanctioned Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua for corruption and human rights abuse and one of his platforms promises to reduce illegal and legal immigration in the country.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden said he’s committed to immigration policy reform so that the country is open to accepting people from all over the world.
He also said he wants to invest in ending racial health disparities and wants to reinstate DACA. Latinos in the state of Iowa said they believe they will impact the ballot box this November.
Joe Enriquez Henry is with the nonpartisan League of United Latin American Citizens.
“6% of the registered voters here in Iowa are from the Latino community,” Henry said.
Henry has been at this for a while in his role as Iowa state political director for ULAC.
“Many people don’t realize it outside the state but we are a growing part of Iowan voters,” he said.
The presidential contest in the “Hawkeye State” is expected to be close, and a majority of a minority could make the difference in deciding the race.
“6% of voters can play a part in most every race that happens here in the state and in Congress and with the president,” Henry said.
For decades, Gloria Cano has been an activist in the Des Moines’ Hispanic community, she talked with NewsNation in a neighborhood replete with Latino-owned businesses in the shadow of the state capitol.
“The Latino community, as well as just everyone, is looking for hope and to provide the services and resources that are probably not available right now or have been cut and people are suffering from that,” she said.
This year, Cano is supporting Democratic nominee Joe Biden for president and said he speaks to her community.
“I think he has a good heart and intention to help people here in this community as well as around the nation,” Cano said.
While the Latino community in Iowa and especially in Des Moines are mostly united, in heritage and in the fact that they are a struggling minority in a state that is mostly white, they are not always united in politics.
Iowa Latino Dave Murillo is a retired Des Moines police sergeant and a retired Democrat.
“Trump has done what he said he’d do you know everything he’s said he (does) during the last election he’s done,” Murillo said. “That’s just a rarity in the world of politics they promise you the moon and they don’t deliver.”
In her role as co-chair of the Republican Party of Polk County, Connie Schmett has made growth a focus by placing local Hispanic Republicans in charge of outreach within their own community.
“To get into those communities you need someone who is a leader and we have those leaders on our central committee,” Schmett said.
Henry cautions that Latinos don’t all vote the same way, but what is similar about them helps to keep him optimistic.
“We are not a monolith, but we have a sense of community that is something that has been passed on through generations it is very easy for our people to communicate the importance of taking care of each other,” he said.
And this community of Iowa voters may finally have an impact on a national stage.
For the first time, Latinos will become the country’s largest minority voting group in the country in this November’s election.