For the last several months, Julio Perez has been driving a bus across the country, emblazoned with a decal on the side that read “Stop the separation of families.”
He started in California, part of a caravan of immigration activists that toured the country to help turn out Latino voters. When Joe Biden was declared the winner, Perez said they celebrated.
“It was a huge relief, like a heavy load lifted from our shoulders, because the current administration has humiliated all immigrants, and trampled our dignity as human beings,” he said in Spanish, speaking by phone from New Jersey.
Perez is originally from El Salvador and has been living in Boston since 1994. He’s one of nearly 850,000 Latinos in Massachusetts — only a little more than half of whom are eligible to vote. Perez couldn’t vote because he’s not a citizen, but that didn’t stop him from helping to turn out Latinos who are citizens to try to get Trump out of office.
For decades, Democrats have pinned their electoral hopes on the growing Latino population, but the 2020 election showed that the Latino vote is deeply divided on factors like nationality, geopolitics and religion. While Trump lost overwhelmingly in Massachusetts, this election showed a shift toward him in Gateway Cities across the state — places like Lawrence, Holyoke and Springfield. These are all cities with high concentrations of Latinos.
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