Obama Talks Up Immigration Reform as Election Rhetoric

April 21, 2011 04:26

President Obama on Tuesday urged a wide range of activists and officials to keep pushing the immigration reform issue.

From The Americano

Even though President Barack Obama did little to pass immigration reform when he had an overwhelming Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate during his first two years in office, candidate Obama brought up the issue again Tuesday, in an effort to recover lost support among Hispanic voters.

According to The Hill, despite long odds against immigration reform now, President Obama on Tuesday urged a wide range of activists and officials to keep pushing the immigration reform issue.

The president told the group, which included Rev. Al Sharpton, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, that for Congress to act, they will have to put pressure on Capitol Hill.

Candidate Obama said this was one of his top priorities in the 2008 presidential campaign. Many times he said he would support such a bill during his first two years in office, but never pressed his party members hard enough to get them to vote on the issue.

Now that the campaign has started again, and the possibility of it gathering enough support to pass Congress greatly diminished, the president brings it up again.

This came a day after one of the most liberal House Democrats, one who hails from Chicago, just as Obama, warned the President Monday that he could withhold support for him next year if the White House doesn’t do more on immigration reform.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D – Ill.) told MSNBC he wants to root for Obama in 2012, but the president’s record on immigration reform has left the Illinois Democrat weighing his options. Gutierrez said he remains “undecided” about his favored candidate next year.

“I want to support Barack Obama for reelection,” Gutierrez told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “But the lack of progress on immigration reform and the lack of action that Barack Obama, our president, has — the discretion he has — is really making that job difficult for me.”

Gutierrez made similar remarks over the weekend to The Chicago Tribune.

It is a growing complaint among Hispanics. Obama, many believe and say, is taking the Hispanic vote for granted. Many Hispanic supporters have said that the president never made good on his 2008 campaign promises despite the better than two-to-one majority Hispanics gave him in the election. He did not push the issue when Democrats had a huge majority in both the House and the Senate.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Gutiérrez told a large crowd at Lincoln United Methodist Church in Chicago that Obama should use his executive powers to stop the deportation of people with children who are U.S. citizens.

“I have nothing but the greatest desire to vote for Barack Obama. I have nothing but the greatest desire to be helpful, and to join arms with him, and march across this country toward his reelection,” Gutierrez said in Chicago. “But I cannot do that. We cannot do that, until we resolve the current conflict that exists between this administration and its immigration policy.”

Gutierrez said Latino voters are dissatisfied with Obama’s progress on the issue. He’s concerned it will mean smaller voter turnout in 2012, according to the published report.

The Hill added in its story that Obama has come under fire repeatedly by Hispanic and pro-reform groups who have questioned his commitment on the issue. The president again is making it into a campaign issue, although many question just how hard he will push Democrats in Congress to support him.

The Americano/Agencies

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