How the Democratic Party can re-energize Latino voters

How the Democratic Party can re-energize Latino voters

LatinaLista — Last week, I wrote a commentary about being left unimpressed, unmotivated and uninterested in setting up any neighborhood watch parties to watch the President's State of the Union address.


It's not that I'm on the GOP bandwagon to derail Obama at any cost, it's just that I'm not sure what the point is anymore in rallying my friends, neighbors or readers to heighten the pitch for someone who has so much on his plate that he thinks leaking the fact that he would be "talking" about immigration reform in his State of the Union address would suffice for actually addressing the issue with any real substance.

I'm not alone. Other parts of the country have also registered Latino voters as feeling less than enthusiastic in helping his popularity poll numbers.

Some Latina Lista readers, who aren't in favor of immigration reform, have accused this site and others pressing Obama to really address immigration reform, as being self-centered to the detriment of everyone else in the country.

Yet, what they fail to understand is that the Latino vote was mobilized and materialized and helped this administration gain office under the promise that this president and his party would do something other than raid, arrest and deport immigrants, whose only crimes are working and living in the U.S. without the proper authorization.

Everyone understands that immigration reform is as complex, volatile and controversial as healthcare reform. Yet there were little things the President could have authorized in the interim that would not only have shown Latino voters that he meant to keep his promise but would have re-energized Latino voters in ways that an unsolicited email to form watch parties just can't accomplish.


The president could have:

called a moratorium on raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement; or

he could have spoken about the horrendous conditions at immigrant detention centers that were uncovered by the New York Times and his plans to improve those conditions;

or he could have created a first step in re-uniting families separated by either detention or deportation;

or he could have re-classified immigrants, whose only crimes were re-entering after having been deported, as something less than a felony which prohibits them from returning to the United States for a prolonged period of time;

or he could have taken steps to bring back all the men and women who served honorably in the military but were deported once they returned to civilian life; or ...

There's a list of things the president could have done.

But nothing was done and the mood around the country among Latinos is one of disappointment and disillusionment. At the recent Latino Congreso that wrapped up a three-day conference discussing issues important to the Latino community, the sentiment was that immigration reform was already dead for 2010.

If Obama had committed himself to doing just one of the actions mentioned above, he would have been on his way to re-energizing Latino voters.


For the simple reason it would have shown that he is not just paying lip service to Latino voters but sincerely listening and acting.

In other words, Latinos are still on his radar.

The big question these days most Latinos are wondering is: Are Latinos even a blip on the screen anymore?


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