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Biden Looks to Shore Up Latino Support in Visit to Nevada and Arizona

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Biden Looks to Shore Up Latino Support in Visit to Nevada and Arizona

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President Biden plans to visit Nevada and Arizona this week to champion his economic policies and attack Republicans on immigration and abortion as he seeks to shore up a crucial but wavering Latino electorate in the two battleground states.

Mr. Biden will begin his trip on Tuesday in Reno, Nev., where he plans to promote his economic agenda and denounce former President Donald J. Trump over abortion rights. He then plans to travel to Las Vegas to trumpet his efforts to cut housing costs before heading on Wednesday to Phoenix, where he is set to make a manufacturing announcement.

The trip will seek to turn what polls have shown to be three of Mr. Biden’s biggest weaknesses — the economy, immigration and slipping support among Latinos — into strengths, and it comes as the president has adopted an aggressive new tone as he opens the general election campaign against Mr. Trump.

Mr. Biden will particularly have his eye on Latino voters, who are increasingly gravitating toward Mr. Trump. Mr. Biden’s campaign is set to air two interviews with the president on radio stations appealing to Latino audiences, kick off an organizing program to rally Latino voters and attack Republicans for restricting abortion rights and sinking a bipartisan immigration package full of measures to tighten border security.

“The Latino vote was critical to the president’s victory in 2020, and 2024 will be no different,” Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chávez Rodríguez, said in a statement. “Our community has deep roots in organizing, and we are excited to harness that skill set to fight for our families, our communities, and against Donald Trump’s anti-Latino agenda.”

Democrats have in recent years relied on Latino voters, particularly in states like Nevada and Arizona, which could tip the 2024 presidential election. Latinos make up roughly one in four eligible voters in Arizona and Nevada — states Mr. Biden won in 2020. But Mr. Trump has found support among many in the diverse Latino electorate, including evangelicals and those focused on border security. Mr. Trump has appealed in particular to Latinos without college degrees, an educational divide that has captured the attention of the White House.

Surveys show Mr. Trump winning more than 40 percent of Latino voters, a level not achieved by a Republican in two decades. Some polls even show Mr. Trump ahead of Mr. Biden among Latino voters after Mr. Biden won nearly 60 percent of their vote in 2020.

Mr. Biden’s campaign aides say they are prepared to go on the offensive on an issue that resonates in both states and was once viewed in the White House as a political vulnerability: immigration and the border. In a memo written by Ms. Chávez Rodríguez, Mr. Biden’s approach on immigration is listed as a primary way to “contrast on the issues that matter most to western voters.”

“President Biden negotiated the toughest and fairest reforms to secure the border in decades — only for Donald Trump to tell his MAGA Republican allies to block these efforts to help Trump politically,” Ms. Chávez Rodríguez says in the memo.

But in a sign of how complex the politics of immigration can be, Mr. Biden will also need to strike a balance between talking about border security measures and emphasizing his efforts to pass a pathway to citizenship, said John Tuman, a professor of political science at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who focuses on the Latino electorate.

While Mr. Biden has shifted right on immigration recently, many voters in Nevada are also interested in hearing about reforming the overall immigration system, Mr. Tuman said.

“It pays dividends politically to push immigration from the margins to the center,” Mr. Tuman said. He said Mr. Biden could speak about the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers and the program to protect them “while also acknowledging there needs to be some compromise on border security.”

And like the overall electorate in Nevada, Mr. Tuman said, Latino voters want to see progress on the economy, including job growth and lower housing costs.

During his speech on housing in Las Vegas, Mr. Biden will once again call on Congress to pass a mortgage relief credit that would provide first-time homeowners a $10,000 tax credit. But Mr. Biden can do little to change mortgage rates — they are heavily influenced by the Federal Reserve. The average 30-year mortgage rate jumped to nearly 8 percent last fall from below 3 percent in 2021. It has declined slightly this year but recently ticked up again and now sits just under 7 percent.

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