Latino Influence Declining in New York City?


Angelo Falcón, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, says there’s a puzzling situation in New York City: the number of Latinos is increasing but their influence on public policy is waning.
He wrote, “There is concern that beyond a strong immigrant rights movement, specifically Latino advocacy in other policy areas has been on the wane for some time. It is a puzzling sentiment given that the size of this community has never been greater, it has a larger group of highly-educated professionals, the largest number of elected public officials it has ever had and enjoys a level of increased media, political and corporate attention than it has experienced ever before.”
Falcón added, “Despite these apparently positive developments, Latinos in New York continue to exhibit high poverty rates at 28 percent, their neighborhoods are being gentrified and populations dispersed, and, except for elected public office, they are significantly underrepresented in positions of power in the government at all levels, the private sector and even in the nonprofit world.”
The reasons vary, according to Falcón for this decline. He wrote that it could be attributed to the Latino equivalent of white flight (i.e. middle class Latinos moving to the suburbs); a population that changes frequently with immigrants of questionable legal status; and a diverse population from more than 21 countries. Things won’t improve unless Latinos unify behind one leader, regardless of country of origin.
There’s also a belief that white liberals who rule the Democratic party in New York are marginalizing the Latino community. Falcón wrote, “A recurring complaint by Latino elected officials is how the Democratic Party and its leaders, such as whoever is Governor, relegate Latinos to lower elected positions and exclude them from any serious leadership roles in the party apparatus.”