Harvard Political Review: In your column you said that it is possible for the next president of the United States to be Hispanic—Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. Do you think these candidates can rely on the vote of the Hispanic community in their run for the presidency?
Jorge Ramos: No, no. I think it’s going to help Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz the fact that they’re Latinos, but unless they have a clear immigration policy that favors 11 million undocumented immigrants and gives them a path to citizenship, I don’t think they will win the majority of the Hispanic vote. Historically, that hasn’t happened, the Democratic Party has always gotten the majority of the Hispanic vote and that isn’t going to change with Marco Rubio or with Ted Cruz. However, the threshold for them is very low they only need 33 percent of the Hispanic vote. If they can go beyond 33 percent, they might lose the Hispanic vote but they might win the White House.
HPR: Do you think that within the Republican base, these candidates will eventually change to appease the Hispanic community on immigration?
JR: What happens usually within the Republican Party is that all candidates tend to go to the right at the beginning in order to win the primaries and then eventually they will move to the center in order to win the general election. What I think is going to happen is that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and most Republican candidates will stick to very conservative and aggressive anti-immigrant positions at the beginning of the campaign and they’ll slowly move towards the center.
HPR: You talk about the deaths of several immigrants that have gone unnoticed in the mainstream media. Is there a figure or a group that undocumented immigrants in the United States can turn to for help?
JR: That’s precisely the problem, it’s a good question because the problem within the Hispanic community is that we don’t have the political representation that we need. Just imagine, we’re 55 million and we only have three senators so it is almost impossible that three senators can completely represent 55 million people. The traditional Hispanic organization, La Raza, for instance, and all the pro-immigrant organizations—they are simply not enough to do that. So unfortunately, what we are going to see in the future is more cases like that, more immigrants being killed and no justice being done. We are seeing that whenever an African-American is being killed by a white police officer there is a huge movement within the country and the mass media to criticize and denounce what is going on. I am not seeing that yet with Latin American immigrants.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Image Credit: The Institute of Politics at Harvard University