LatinaLista — Lately, President Obama has not made a secret of the fact that he has opened the White House to Latinos. Whether it’s holding various strategy meetings with Latino community leaders, politicians or entertainment personalities or hosting the swearing-in and kick-off meeting of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, the Obama administration has flung the doors to the White House wide open for Latinos.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The White House is even opening their web site to the Latino community by creating a section called “Winning the Future: President Obama and the Hispanic Community.”
According to the White House, the site is:
A one-stop shop for what the Obama Administration is doing related to the Hispanic community and is a place where you can see the work of some of the Hispanic appointees across the Obama Administration.
In another area on the White House site, the administration solicited feedback for a short time on what to do about immigration reform at the page “Advise the Advisor” and on the regular issues page of immigration, the administration posts their blueprint for immigration reform.
President Obama has even opened up his busy agenda to address immigration reform. In May, he went to El Paso and delivered a speech on the subject.
With all that he and his administration are doing, it would seem that people would see that he’s trying to help the Latino community. Yet, several examples illustrate that he and his administration have to go farther than just opening up the People’s House to talk about the issues – the nation wants action.
For example, the Secure Communities program. Though the Obama administration has said that the program, which is supposed to target only undocumented immigrants with criminal histories for deportation is to be mandatory across the country, states, cities and counties are objecting to the program.
The problem is that the program has been widely abused in deporting undocumented immigrants who don’t have a criminal history that warrants their removal. As a result, the relationship between local law enforcement and those communities has deteriorated to the point that the police are not trusted in those communities anymore. City and state officials acknowledge that the Secure Communities program makes those communities less safe.
Various groups, organizations and politicians have implored President Obama to suspend the program but the pleas have fallen on deaf ears. So, individual states and cities are taking matters into their own hands:
Massachusetts is the third state to pull out of the program, called Secure Communities, after Gov. Pat Quinn canceled it in Illinois in May and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo suspended New York’s participation last week. All three are Democrats from states with large immigrant populations, and they are close allies of President Obama, including on immigration issues.
The Los Angeles City Council will vote on whether to support legislation that would allow individual California counties to opt out of the program.
The President has also been asked repeatedly to use his administrative powers to provide relief to certain groups of immigrants facing deportation. He has repeatedly denied that he had any such authority but analysis of executive powers done by various politicians and media outlets report that President Obama has a lot more leeway with executive powers than he has been willing to exercise.
President Obama’s insistence that his “hands are tied” by Congressional inaction on immigration has raised questions about how much executive power the President has when it comes to immigration. To this end, top immigration law experts, including former counsels to the agencies that manage immigration, have drafted a legal memo outlining the scope of executive branch authority and examples of its use in the immigration context.
These are only two examples but they are strong examples of what some members of the Latino community are asking of this President. Others have already quit asking and are intent to not only not support him in the 2012 election but challenge him.
The Tequila Party is picking up momentum across the nation and is intent on registering as many Latinos voters as possible in preparation for making a difference at the polls in 2012.
As most politicians know, Latino voters are not loyal to any one party or individual but usually vote for the person whom they feel in their heart is the best choice for them and their families — and who has opened their heart to the Latino community in return.