LatinaLista — At this stage of the election game, there’s no disputing that Obama, a.k.a. the Democratic Party, is enjoying unrivaled support from the Latino community.
A Pew Hispanic study back in July (2008) showed that Obama enjoyed the support of 66 percent of Hispanic voters versus 23 percent for McCain. It’s natural to assume that today there is an even wider gap in the percentages since more Latinos have made up their minds in favor of Obama.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
From everything that has been reported, Latinos sided with Obama and the Democratic party for three main reasons:
1. The pledge to help middle-class American families with taxes, funding college education for their children and the economy.
2. The pledge to get more families healthcare coverage.
3. The pledge to bring about immigration reform
While immigration may not be on the top of every Latino voter’s list, it is still among the top 3 issues that are important to Latinos and did initially serve as the impetus for many immigrant advocates/bloggers/voters to throw their support behind Obama.
Yet, recent remarks from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi regarding path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, one of the key factors in any true immigration reform measure, is giving Latino supporters reason to pause and ask ourselves: Were we duped into supporting Obama?
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Speaker Pelosi was commenting on a variety of issues that face the next Administration and Congress.
Pelosi also said Congress would have to tackle the politically sticky job of overhauling immigration laws in the new Congress, after a bipartisan measure collapsed last year.
The estimated 12 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally “are part of the U.S. economy. We cannot send them all home, and we cannot send them all to jail, so we have to address it,” Pelosi said.
Any solution would have to be bipartisan, she said, so it may require sacrificing some of Democrats’ past priorities, such as giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.
“Maybe there never is a path to citizenship if you came here illegally,” Pelosi said. “I would hope that there could be, but maybe there isn’t.”
As even critics of comprehensive immigration reform point out, if 12 million people are not deported and allowed to stay, they are on their way to becoming citizens. Yes, in some circles the word for this is “amnesty.”
Though extreme conservatives have been successful in creating fear and making politicians believe they are committing political suicide if they use the term “amnesty,” the fact remains that 12 million people cannot be allowed nor expected to create a sub-class just to appease some small group who have intimidated this country and its leaders by hijacking the issue.
When immigrant advocates first approached Pelosi about her comments, it was said that she misspoke and she would clarify her remarks. To this day, her clarification has not come.
With only a few days left before the election, it’s natural to assume that she won’t be clarifying her remarks before the election so as not to alienate anyone further.
Yet, before she or anyone else in Congress begins the old spiel about making undocumented immigrants pay for jumping the nonexistent line or not giving them a path to citizenship, she, and her colleagues, should note that the time is ripe for true immigration reform.
It’s time that both Democrats and Republicans recognize the immigrants who have established roots and are contributing members of our society, their children who comprise the fabric of this country’s future and the fact that this population deserves to live out of the shadows and not be branded the scapegoats of bad government immigration or economic policies.
Speaker Pelosi’s comments were unfortunate and if she didn’t misspeak, but let slip the route Democrats intend to take on immigration reform next year, it will be a sobering wake-up call to millions of Latinos who put their faith, trust and votes into a party that promised change but will only be delivering more of the same.
A clarification does need to be made and sooner rather than later. Latina Lista is not alone in asking Speaker Pelosi to clarify her comments. The major Latino bloggers are also doing the same:
The Sanctuary — WTF
Migra Matters — Pelosi Backs Away from Cornerstone of Comprehensive Reform
Citizen Orange — Pelosi Backtracks on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Change.org — Pelosi Puts a Wall Up on Path to Citizenship
DreamActivist.org — Pelosi Sells Out to the Immigration Reform Foes
Latino Politico — Listen Up, Democrats
VivirLatino —Â Nancy Pelosi Proves that Dems Aren’t Immigrant Friendly Either
The Unapologetic Mexican — Pelosi Suggests Permanent U.S. Slave Class
Of AmÃ©rica — The Immigrant Vote & the Need to Denounce Nancy Pelosi
Political Salsa — Pelosi shows Dems unsympathetic to immigrants
Immigration Chronicles (Houston Chronicle) — Pelosi: No path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?
Docudharma — What Is Nancy Pelosi For, Anyway?