“Now everything has changed,” said Regina Romero, the Democratic mayor of Tucson, whose parents emigrated with her older siblings from Sonora, Mexico. “But if anything, the public mood has changed in our favor. People here understand that we need people who are from Mexico to help our economy. People here understand more and more that it’s a strength, not a threat. “
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Kassie Waters, a 33-year-old medic in Tucson, said immigration was high on her list of top political issues four years ago. That year, the mother of three, whose husband works as a police officer, said she was more concerned that “rioters, looters and police officers are being prosecuted for their jobs.”
“Four years ago, my concerns were completely different – immigration was great,” said Ms. Waters, who recently attended a book signing with Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County’s sheriff who advocated draconian immigration policies. Ms. Water, who voted for president in 2016 and plans to continue this year, said Mr. Trump still supports law enforcement by focusing on cities rather than the border and said she had no problem with that “the question of immigration has been pushed into the background. “
Many Arizona Latino families are of mixed immigration status – undocumented parents, for example, raising children who received DACA or who were born in the United States. Taking a back seat to immigration is not an option for them. In the southern part of the state, many families have routinely walked back and forth across the border for generations, leading a sort of binational life.
And many young Latino voters formed their own political identities in the wake of immigration in the early 2000s, and the issue continues to be of great concern.
“This is not an abstract concept to us, not a theoretical attack – it affects the way the world sees us and how we are treated,” said Graciela Martinez, 34, who works in marketing in Phoenix. “We had to fight for all we have and we have to keep fighting.”