CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s day one of a campaign to register millions of new voters in the nation’s fastest growing demographic group.
A total of 800,000 Latinos are turning 18 in the next year alone.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisories In Effect; Snow Arrives For Monday Morning Commute
At a downtown rally, and across the country, Hispanic leaders say Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is helping them get out the vote.
It wasn’t lost on Carlos Ramirez-Rosa that he was a speaker at Tuesday’s rally, months after his election to the Chicago City Council.
“There was a time when people like me, people of Mexican Puerto Rican descent could not be elected to office,” Ramirez-Rosa said. “And we broke barriers once people of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent started voting on who should serve in public office.”
In a national voter registration ad, Latinos are using Trump’s own words–he says Mexican immigrants are “stealing our jobs” and has called many of the rapists–as a rallying cry.
“When anyone is attacking you and your family absolutely you’re going to get upset,” said Ramirez-Rosa. “Donald Trump’s attacks all Latino families are completely inexcusable.”READ MORE: MISSING: Felicity Barr, 16, Last Seen In Aurora
Here on Michigan Avenue, Diana Vargas, a daughter of undocumented immigrants, tearfully described her father’s sacrifice working in a kitchen to send her to college.
“All those tireless days he spent in a hot kitchen in order to pay for my college tuition were not spent in vain,” Vargas said. “Now it is my turn to help my parents.”
That will start next year, by voting, she says.
According to the PEW Research Center, 21 million Hispanics across the country were eligible to vote in 2012.
Little more than half, about 11 million, were actually registered.MORE NEWS: Melissa Ortega, 8-Year-Old Girl Killed In Little Village Shooting, Had Just Emigrated From Mexico
“The power is ours,” Rosa said. “But we need to exercise it, we need to get out and vote.”