Latinos play prominent role in Presidential Inauguration

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POSTED: Monday, January 21, 2013 - 11:46pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 10:01am

History was made in Washington D.C. as President Barack Obama officially begins another term in office. In the 2012 election, President Obama won more than 70 percent of the Latino vote which helped him win a second term and Latinos played a prominent role in his inauguration.

With El Paso's Hispanic population more than 80 percent, immigration is always relevant in the borderland.

"Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country," said President Obama.

Latinos took the spotlight at the ceremony.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic in the high court, administered the oath of office for Vice President Joe Biden.

Richard Blanco, a 44-year-old Cuban-American civil engineer and author was chosen to compose and recite a poem. Blanco was only the fifth poet chosen for the honor, and the first Hispanic.

The Reverend Doctor Luis Leon from an episcopal church near the White House delivered the benediction, with a closing prayer in Spanish.

Mariachi and folklorico groups performed during the parade including students from Palmview High School from the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas.

"I was just feeling very inspired because I mean I was touched by the fact that he had a mariachi band and folklorico dancers… kinda representing who I am so I was just really touched," said Beatriz Lucero.

Lucero was watching the inauguration ceremony from her home in the Lower Valley. She took to Facebook with one of her posts reading, “Arriba Obama!”

The CEO of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said Monday’s Latino presence is uplifting.

"I was thrilled to finally see that our Hispanic culture was so well represented. I think he was sending a message to the world, that the Hispanic community certainly is a huge voting block and for those who want that office and any other office, not to underestimate the value of the Latino vote."

In the 2010 census, 53 million Hispanics made up 17 percent of the U.S. population, making it the fastest growing ethnic group.

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