Saturday, March 6, 2010

Washington Post article on Latinos and Obama

Here is an excerpt from a Washington Post article about Latinos and President Obama.


Obama risks alienating Latinos with lack of immigration reform

By Joshua Hoyt
Friday, March 5, 2010

I have known Barack Obama since 1986, when we were both community organizers. I am still organizing on the streets of Chicago, and what I see in the Latino community makes me fear that the president is oblivious to the pain wrought by our broken immigration system. It could have a profound effect on the 2010 and 2012 elections.

It didn't have to be this way. For a brief moment last year it appeared that Obama might realign the modern political map, cementing the Latino vote into the Democratic coalition by speaking plainly to the American people on the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

Instead, he squandered a political gift handed to him by the Republican Party's nativist wing -- and its anti-immigrant rhetoric -- during the 2008 campaign.Candidate Obama promised to make immigration reform a priority during his first year in office, and the Latino vote surged to 10 million, from 7.8 million in 2004, and swung eight percentage points toward the Democrats.

Latinos gave 59 percent of their vote to John Kerry in 2004 but gave Obama 67 percent in 2008. The immigrant Latino vote expanded from 52 percent for Kerry to 75 percent for Obama, enough to deliver Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida -- and arguably North Carolina, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

But since taking office Obama has pursued a policy of increased deportations. The president's tin ear for Latino passion on this issue was clear to us in Chicago during his short tenure as our U.S. senator.

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