Mexican Americans vs. Cubans in political clout

Mexican Americans are relatively weaker than Cuban Americans in national politics. Mexican Americans account for 11% of the total population but only 3% of Senators and 6% of Congresspersons. Cuban Americans account for 0.7% of the population by 3% of Senators and 1.7% of Congresspersons.

There is 1 Mexican American Senator for every 10 million persons of Mexican descent but 1 Cuban American Senator for every 666,000 Cuban American.

The Senate includes three Mexican Americans — Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Alex Padilla, (D-Calif.). — with the Mexican American population overall of about 37 million people. Roughly a quarter of Mexican-Americans are unauthorized. They were subjected to decades of discrimination. Many have little formal education – until very recently less than 10% of new Mexican immigrants had a college degree. . They are concentrated in states which are not swing states, such as Texas and California.

Cuban Americans, who number just 2 million, are represented by three Cuban American senators: Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). Large numbers of Cubans, many from elite, mostly white wealthy families, started arriving in the 1960s after Fidel Castro overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista. Over 20% are college educated. They form a potent voting bloc in a swing state – Florida.

Cold War Cuban refugees were given clear and quick paths to U.S. citizenship. Since 1966, the Cuban Adjustment Act treats all Cubans as refugees. Cubans who arrive in the United States are eligible for legal permanent residence one year after arrival. Under a1980 law, certain Cubans are also eligible for welfare benefits similar to refugees. No other nationality group has such preferential or immediate access to green cards and welfare benefits. Cuba has refused to take back its nationals who have been ordered deported.

Mostly from Axios, here.

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