President Obama tells Latinos to “champion” immigration reform

LatinaLista — Another day, another event for President Obama to underscore his determination to show the Latino community that he’s serious about the immigration issue.

caucus-obama-prayer-breakfast-blog480.jpgThis morning, he spoke at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC. Overall, the speech was a repeat of what he’s already been saying but with one difference. This time, he actually spelled out what he wants the Latino community to do to spur the issue forward.

President Obama speaks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast about passing comprehensive immigration reform.

…And so what we need to do going forward is to address some of the broader problems in our immigration system. And that means changing minds and changing votes, one at a time.

I know there are some folks who wish I could just bypass Congress. I can’t. But what I can do is sign a law. What you can do is champion a law. What we can do together is make comprehensive immigration reform the law of the land. That’s what we can do.

Sounding more like an organizer, the President clearly implies that he wants the Latino community to create a national movement on immigration reform that will complement and support the efforts of Congressional Democrats who yesterday started the process by reintroducing the DREAM Act in both the Senate and the House.

If it was a hard sell before, it got even harder with the President now publicly blaming GOP members for Congress failing to address the issue, and pass the DREAM Act, in the past.

In fact, one of the three Republicans who voted for the measure in the Senate back in December, has now retreated from supporting it. Sen. Richard Lugar’s (R-Ind.) press spokesman, Mark Helmke, said, “President Obama’s appearance in Texas framed immigration as a divisive election issue instead of attempting a legitimate debate on comprehensive reform. Ridiculing Republicans was clearly a partisan push that effectively stops a productive discussion about comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act before the 2012 election.”

This scolding would be much more legitimate if some GOP members hadn’t already proclaimed the border still isn’t secure enough, and in the process, providing an early indicator that they will remain uncooperative on the issue.

So how can a bill be championed with such dire prospects? How can a movement be formed that goes beyond phone banks and sit-ins?

These are questions that need serious attention and strategizing if the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform are to ever pass Congress.

And if there is one thing that is clear – it will take more than Latinos to make it happen.

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