About This Episode

How do we create an antidote to the politics of division? UnidosUS Deputy Vice President Clarissa Martinez-de-Castro joins Billy Shore to discuss immigration policies, Latino civic engagement and turning out the vote. “If you look at surveys and opinion research for the last ten years, the majority of the American people actually want to see a functional immigration system. There is a vocal and very loud minority that has hijacked the ability to make progress on this issue and made legislators scared to take action,” explains Martinez. “We sometimes see politicians using the politics of division… using the issue of immigration to stir up anxiety about the demographic change in our country and to stir up antagonism against immigrants,” she says. Martinez thinks that both parties are missing a huge opportunity with Latino voters. “I’m sad to say that over the last ten years, one of the parties has either ignored Latinos or actually antagonized them. Given that, the other party tends to take Latino voters for granted,” she notes about one of the fastest growing segments of the electorate. “For people who care about having jobs, good schools for their children and a good roof over your head, the growth of the Latino electorate should be a welcome development because those are the priorities that motivate this electorate,” says Martinez. Join us for an informative and urgent conversation with one of the most knowledgeable advocates on Latino civic engagement, voter registration and more just immigration policies.

Resources and Mentions:

Clarissa Martinez

Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro 

Deputy Vice President

Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro is passionate about strengthening civil society. As Deputy Vice President at UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S, she helps lead the organization’s Policy and Advocacy division. In that role, she oversees efforts to advance fair and effective immigration policies, and to expand Latino civic engagement by helping immigrants become citizens, citizens become voters, and the community overall become an active participant in policy debates. She designed Rise Above, a pilot initiative to build a positive, accurate narrative of our changing America that fosters collaborative action. A frequent commentator on the Latino electorate and immigration issues on television, radio and print media, she is a graduate of Occidental College and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a U.S. Vote Foundation advisory board member, a 2015 Presidential Leadership Scholar, and a Nantucket Project 2015 Catalyst Fellow. She also represents UnidosUS on the advisory board of We Can Vote.

Unidos US



UnidosUS—formerly known as NCLR—has remained a trusted, nonpartisan voice for Latinos since 1968. They serve the Hispanic community through research, policy analysis, and state and national advocacy efforts, as well as program work in communities nationwide. They also partner with a national network of nearly 300 affiliates across the country to serve millions of Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing.