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This newsletter, edited by Astrid Galván, is 1,571 words, a 6-minute read.

1 big thing: Why "Latine" is suddenly everywhere

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

"Latine," a gender-neutral way to describe or refer to people with Latino origins, is surging in popularity on university campuses, in museums, and among researchers and media, Marina writes.

The big picture: Catch-all terms like Hispanic or Latino have come under scrutiny for blurring important nuances and presenting a large part of the U.S. population as a monolith.

  • Latine is "part of a movement centered on wanting to build and foster an inclusive community," says Carlos Zavala, vice president at consulting firm Whiteboard Advisors, which has used the term in reports from its work with tech and education groups.
  • 41% of U.S. Latinos in the latest Axios-Ipsos Latino poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo say they are comfortable with Latine.

Flashback: The increased use of Latine comes as Latinx has been phased out by some organizations or banned by officials.

  • Latinx had been pushed by U.S. academics as a gender-neutral option for Latinos but was criticized for using the letter "x" in a manner that's unnatural to Spanish speakers.

Context: Spanish words generally have a fixed grammatical gender, making them either masculine (el gato) or feminine (la silla). Many plural nouns also use the masculine form as a default (los niños). The same rules apply in Portuguese.

By the numbers: Younger people are even more positive about Latine, with 43% of respondents ages 18-29 saying they're comfortable with using it, compared to just 33% of those 65 and older.

Yes, but: Latino/a and Hispanic are still the preferred terms for respondents, with over 80% acceptance, followed by a descriptor tied to a country of origin (such as Cuban American or Mexican American), the poll shows.

  • More than half of those polled from states along the U.S.-Mexico border or in the Midwest said the term Latine makes them uncomfortable, and more than 60% of respondents aged 65 and older said the same.
  • There's also pushback in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries, with people arguing the term is unnecessary or that it distorts grammar rules.

What they're saying: Adopting new terminology can be challenging, "but language is meant to be our tool, to change or evolve as we develop different ways of thinking about things," says Monica Trasandes, director for Spanish language media and representation at GLAAD.

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2. Dolores Huerta pushes back against RFK Jr.

Dolores Huerta on Nov. 29, 2023, in West Hollywood, Calif. Photo: Elyse Jankowski/Variety via Getty Images

Latina civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, who strongly backed Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential run and stood next to him moments before he was shot, is urging RFK Jr. to drop out of the 2024 presidential race, Russell writes.

Driving the news: Huerta tells Axios that the namesake son should "come to his senses" since he'll only give former President Trump a better chance of returning to the White House.

The big picture: RFK Jr. is seeking to get on the ballot in states for his independent run and has launched an aggressive Latino outreach using a version of his uncle JFK's historic "Viva Kennedy!" platform.

  • His campaign has used RFK Sr.'s relationship with Huerta and United Farm Workers union leader Cesar Chavez to draw attention to the legacy of Kennedys and Latinos throughout history.

Yes, but: Many of Cesar Chavez's family members are supporting Biden. Biden's campaign manager, Julie Chávez Rodríguez, is the granddaughter of Cesar Chavez.

What they're saying: "It makes us sad to think that Robert Kennedy Jr. is actually going to help (Trump) win," said Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers with Chavez and turned 94 on Wednesday.

  • Huerta said she respects RFK Jr.'s passion for environmental issues, but he can address those and not "ruin Democratic elections."
  • "This is really sad to think that he's doing this because it makes a whole mark on the Kennedy legacy. This family has given so much to the United States of America."

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3. Latino support for border wall grows

The US-Mexico border wall in Campo, Calif. Photo: Mark Abramson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The share of Latinos who say they support building a border wall and deporting all undocumented immigrants has grown by about 10 percentage points since 2021, Russell writes off the latest Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo.

Why it matters: Anti-immigrant sentiment like that promoted by former President Trump is spreading — even among people who may have ties to immigration.

  • It's a reflection of many Americans' growing frustration with illegal immigration and Republicans' recent inroads among Latinos.
  • It also is raising concerns over violence as the election year heats up.

The big picture: Immigration and border security are expected to be among the top issues in the 2024 election rematch between President Biden and Trump.

  • Trump has promised to step up border security if he returns to office, including mass deportations in his plans. Biden said he'd be willing to "close the border" amid surges in crossings.

By the numbers: 42% of Latino adults surveyed said they support building a wall or fence along the entire U.S.–Mexico border.

  • That's a 12-point jump from December 2021, when only 30% said they did.
  • 38% support sending all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. back to their country of origin — an increase from December 2021, when 28% said so.
  • In addition, 64% support giving the president the authority to shut U.S. borders if there are too many immigrants trying to enter the country. This is the first time the poll asked this question.

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4. Miami Latinos could affect abortion referendum

A protest against the 15-week state abortion ban in front of the office of Florida state Sen. Ileana Garcia. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Latinos in South Florida could sway the outcome of the upcoming state referendum to legalize abortion, Axios' Sommer Brugal writes.

Why it matters: 68% of U.S. Latinos oppose abortion bans, in line with what they've said about the issue since June 2022, according to a new Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo.

  • In South Florida, despite the community's strong religious views and typically conservative politics, support for abortion rights is high, sources tell Sommer.

Catch up quick: Last week, Florida's high court paved the way for a near-total abortion ban to take effect May 1, while also allowing voters to decide in November whether to allow access to abortion until fetal viability.

The big picture: While abortion rights have won in every state where they've appeared on the ballot since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the issue resonates with South Florida voters for reasons unique to the region's cultural influences.

Zoom in: Many residents emigrated from or have connections to Latin American countries including Cuba, Colombia and Mexico — deeply religious countries where pushes for abortion rights have led to decriminalization.

Between the lines: They have "lived through total abortion bans [and] they know what happens when access is criminalized," Paula Ávila-Guillén, executive director of Women's Equality Center, tells Axios.

In advocating for the Florida abortion measure, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice is framing the issue around government interference and centering its efforts on stories of immigrants.

  • Charo Valero, the organization's Florida state manager, says the institute is learning from the Green Wave movement, which led to expanded abortion rights throughout Latin America.
  • Valero says politicizing the issue could harm the referendum's chances among Latino voters.
  • "This ballot initiative is an attempt to curtail a public health crisis," she says. "We're talking about government interference."

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5. Stories we're watching

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

1. Colombia's former President Álvaro Uribe will be tried on charges of fraud and witness tampering, the country's attorney general said this week.

  • Uribe is alleged to have bribed people not to speak with officials during an investigation into claims that he had links to paramilitary groups accused of extrajudicial killings.
  • The former president, who was in power 2002-2010, says the accusations against him are false and politically motivated.

2. The Organization of American States voted almost unanimously yesterday to condemn Ecuador for storming into the Mexican embassy in Quito this weekend.

  • The OAS statement comes after Mexico shared CCTV footage from inside the embassy showing how the head of the consulate, Roberto Canseco, was manhandled by officers as they arrested former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas.
  • Ecuador has defended its actions — which no country had taken before against an embassy — as within its rights to fight crime. Glas is accused of corruption and was asking Mexico for political asylum.

6. Pachanga: Trio of winners

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Courtesy of La Startup Casa

Three entrepreneurs are our pachanga recipients today.

  • Edrizio de la Cruz is the CEO and a co-founder of Arcus, a fintech company that provides digital financial service to people in Latin America.
  • James Gutierrez is an entrepreneur and fintech investor who co-founded and runs Ocho, a company that helps make car, home and life insurance more affordable for Hispanic people in the U.S.
  • Karla Gallardo is a co-founder and the CEO of Cuyana, the fashion brand that aims to make long-lasting, high-quality accessories and clothing.

All three were recently recognized by the Inicio Icon awards for being trailblazers in their industries.

Congrats!

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🎭 Marina is is excited to take her niece to the theater this weekend.

🪕 Russell is enjoying our new Axios Spotify playlist of Black country music artists and really loves Julie Williams and Rvshvd. You can listen here!

⚕️Astrid is excited to take a mental health day on Friday.