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Va. Latino Leaders: Immigration Is Litmus Test For Candidates

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By Jonathan Wilson

As the 2010 political campaigns gear up, members of Northern Virginia's growing Latino community say they're prepared to push local candidates to support immigration reform.

Andres Tobar is the director of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations.

"We are here today to express our growing impatience with the immigration system in this country," says Tobar.

Tobar spoke at a gathering of community advocates in Arlington on Thursday.

National Immigration reform may have taken a backseat to job creation and health care, but Walter Tejada, an Arlington County Board member, says the issue will have an impact on local elections this year.

"Immigration reform is a litmus test. The vast majority of Latinos are looking at the way legislators people in leadership roles are handling the immigration issue," says Tejada.

Tejada says Northern Virginia's Latino community is more than large enough to turn elections. He says he was first elected by a margin of just 29 votes, and he credits Latino voters for that margin.

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