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This newsletter, edited by Astrid Galván, is 1,534 words, a 6-minute read.

1 big thing: Christian nationalism's Hispanic converts

Christian nationalists pray while participating in the "Take Our Border Back Convoy" on Feb. 3 in Quemado, Texas. Photo: Raquel Natalicchio/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

Hispanic Protestants are among the biggest supporters of Christian nationalism despite the belief system's anti-immigrant and anti-diversity stances, Russell writes off a new survey.

Why it matters: Around two-thirds of Americans surveyed said they reject or are skeptical about Christian nationalism, but its prominence in the GOP is helping shape its educational, health care and immigration policies.

Zoom in: New data from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute's American Values Atlas released Wednesday showed 55% of Hispanic Protestants, most of whom identify as evangelical, hold Christian nationalist beliefs.

  • About 66% of white evangelicals hold such views  — the biggest share of any group surveyed.
  • Among Latino Catholics, 72% said they rejected or were skeptical of Christian nationalism.

Republicans (55%) are more than twice as likely as independents (25%) and three times more likely than Democrats (16%) to say they hold Christian nationalist views, the survey found.

  • Christian nationalists are among the strongest supporters of Donald Trump, various polls show.

Context: Christian nationalism is a set of beliefs centered around white American Christianity's dominance in most aspects of life in the United States.

  • Many Christian nationalists believe the federal government should declare the U.S. a Christian nation and move away from secular interpretations of pluralist democracy.
  • They are staunchly anti-abortion, oppose rights for transgender people and see religious diversity as a threat to their Christian worldview.
  • Many also believe U.S. laws should be based on Christian values and that God has called Christians to exercise dominion over society.

What they're saying: "The idea that Christians should actually exercise dominion over all areas of American society has been quite popular among both white and Latino evangelicals," Robert P. Jones, president and founder of PRRI, tells Axios.

Many Latino evangelicals don't know they're being indoctrinated with Christian nationalism, Elizabeth Rios, founder of the South Florida Passion Center, a faith-based justice-oriented training center, tells Axios.

  • "I think this is happening because most of our Latinos have been discipled in these white megachurches where a lot of nationalism is taking place."
  • Christian nationalism counters the message of Jesus, who urged followers to help the poor, strangers, and the sick, not build walls and oppress those who are different than us, Rios says.

Keep reading

2. Judge blocks Texas immigration law

People who crossed from Mexico into the U.S. at Fronton, Texas, wait in the rain last May after turning themselves over to U.S. Border Patrol agents. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge today temporarily put on hold a Texas law that would allow local authorities and judges to arrest and deport people suspected of illegally crossing the border into the state, Astrid writes.

Why it matters: Civil rights groups and the Department of Justice, who together are suing to stop the law going into effect, say it is unconstitutional and could lead to racial profiling.

  • Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to take the battle to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Catch up fast: Abbott, who has sharply criticized the Biden administration over its handling of an influx of immigrants at the southern border, signed the bill into law on Dec. 18.

  • The ACLU, El Paso county government and others sued the next day, saying law is "patently illegal" because only the federal government has authority to enforce immigration laws.
  • The DOJ filed its own lawsuit, but it ended up joining the one filed by the civil rights groups.
  • The law was scheduled to take effect on March 5.

Details: SB 4 makes it a state misdemeanor to illegally cross the border and a second-degree felony for illegal reentry, with punishments ranging from 180 days in jail to 20 years in prison.

  • It also permits a judge to order an undocumented person "to return to the foreign nation from which they entered."

The other side: Proponents of the law say it will empower local law enforcement to target those who have crossed the border illegally, not people who are in the state with authorization.

Continue reading

3. A Latina boom in college degrees

U.S. Latinos with a Bachelor's degree or higher
Data: Latino Data Hub analysis of Census data; Chart: Axios Visuals

The share of U.S. Latinas with a four-year college degree has nearly quadrupled over the past two decades, though there are wide disparities depending on the country of origin, Astrid writes off a new analysis.

Why it matters: A college degree is needed for most high-wage jobs and is seen as an important pathway to financial stability.

By the numbers: The percentage of college-graduate Latinas rose from 5% in 2000 to 20% in 2021, and the highest rates were found among those with  Venezuelan (57%), Argentine (46%) and Chilean (42%) origins, according to an analysis by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute released today.

  • Latinas with Central American and Mexican roots have the lowest. Only 14% of Honduran, 14% of Salvadoran and 12% of Guatemalan Latinas in the U.S. have degrees.
  • That figure is 16% for Latinas with Mexican ancestry.
  • A higher percentage of Latinas have degrees compared to Latino men, a trend seen in all races and ethnicities.

What they're saying: The varying drivers of immigration to the U.S. are part of the reason there are such disparities in educational levels among different Latina groups, says Misael Galdámez, senior research analyst at LPPI and co-author of the report.

  • For example, Mexican immigrants in the U.S. are often driven by economic need, while many Venezuelans are political refugees who already had college education back home.
  • Galdámez adds that historically, South American immigrants to the U.S. have a stronger grasp of English.
  • "When you have a grasp of English, that also makes it easier when you're in the United States to attain a college degree."

Keep reading

4. Saving New York's Latino stories

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

NuevaYorkinos, a project to preserve New York's Latino and Caribbean American history through community-submitted photos and videos, is celebrating its fifth anniversary, Axios' Mariah Espada writes.

Why it matters: Latinos in historically Hispanic neighborhoods like Bushwick, Sunset Park and Washington Heights who have been increasingly pushed out by gentrification and may face cultural erasure are finding creative ways to preserve their stories.

  • "Being able to use this page and our little corner of the internet to further educate folks about where we come from and where we still are has been so important," NuevaYorkinos co-founder Djali Brown-Cepeda tells Axios.

Zoom in: In the last five years, NuevaYorkinos has garnered nearly 90,000 users on Instagram who have interacted with over 1,500 submissions from families across all five boroughs and various Latin diasporas.

  • The digital archive has transcended the web, leading to over a dozen in-person events and 10 exhibits and installations.
  • The latest was Objects of Permanence, a New York Fashion Week collaboration with creative director Mellány Sánchez that highlighted the historical contributions of immigrants in the garment industry.

Context: In 2019, Brown-Cepeda and co-founder Ricardo Castañeda, both of whom are New York natives, identified a gap in authentic, non-stereotypical Latino representation in media.

  • The duo looked to create an ode to old-school New York City based entirely on submissions from the community. People who submit maintain the rights to their images.
  • "So much of archiving, whether it be in museum spaces or collections, can be rooted in stealing, which is colonialism in action," Brown-Cepeda says. "People are choosing to share their families' stories and histories everyday with us."

Continue reading

5. Stories we're watching

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

1. Six people charged in the August killing of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio went on trial in Ecuador this week.

  • During hearings yesterday, the attorney general's office said the accused are members of the criminal band Los Lobos and had targeted Villavicencio for his former work as a journalist.

2. At least 16 Mexicans running for local and state offices have been killed in the last year, according to a new report.

  • The research firm Laboratorio Electoral said the killings have occurred in 13 of the 32 states, but mostly in Guerrero, where cartels like Jalisco Nueva Generación regularly sow fear.
  • Political violence is somewhat frequent in Mexico before elections, usually by criminal groups that target candidates they dislike.

6.🪅 Pachanga: Yesenia Alvarado Henninger

QPhoto Illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Cassie Mulheron

A big round of applause today for Yesenia Alvarado Henninger, who was recently elected president of Q Street, an association of LGBTQ lobbyists and public policy advocates.

  • Yesenia will be the organization's first leader of color in its 20-year history, she tell us.

Congrats, Yesenia!

🎤 Have you recently accomplished something you're proud of? Let us know by replying to this email!

Russell is searching for more Latino country artists.

Marina is starting physical therapy today and hopes they reduce her left foot pain soon.

Astrid is getting ready to go on vacation.

Many thanks to Carlos Cunha and Axios Visuals. A huge, tear-filled, super-tight hug to Axios' Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath as she embarks on a new adventure. Laurin-Whitney's guidance has been of paramount importance in the success of this newsletter.