News / USA

Obama Addresses Hispanic Organization, Responds to Romney Criticisms

Members of the audience take photographs as President Barack Obama shakes hands at The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ Annual Conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, June 22, 2012.Members of the audience take photographs as President Barack Obama shakes hands at The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ Annual Conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, June 22, 2012.
x
Members of the audience take photographs as President Barack Obama shakes hands at The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ Annual Conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, June 22, 2012.
Members of the audience take photographs as President Barack Obama shakes hands at The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ Annual Conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, June 22, 2012.
WHITE HOUSE - In a speech to a major Hispanic organization in the key election battleground state of Florida, President Barack Obama sought to solidify his support among Latino voters, a group that will be crucial to his hopes for re-election in November.  

Hispanic voters may well determine who wins the White House.  They could swing the election to either candidate in key battleground states such as Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia in the East, Colorado and Nevada in the West.

Mr. Obama last addressed NALEO, an organization representing elected Latino officials, more than three years ago pledging to be a partner in the White House for Hispanics.

In 2008, he won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote and opinion surveys show him with an overwhelming lead over Romney among Hispanics.  But Republicans in Congress have blocked his efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.

Speaking to the conference on Thursday, Mitt Romney criticized Mr. Obama's executive order ending deportations of thousands of children of illegal aliens, saying the president only did so to win Hispanic votes.

Mr. Obama said while not a "permanent fix" his decision was the right thing to do.

"They are Americans, in their hearts, in their minds, they are Americans through and through, in every single way but on paper, and all they want is to go to college and give back to the country they love," said President Obama. "So lifting the shadow of deportation and giving them a reason to hope, that was the right thing to do, it was the right thing to do."

Mr. Obama noted Romney's pledge to veto the DREAM Act, legislation blocked by Republicans that would give young immigrants a pathway to citizenship.

"Your speaker from yesterday has a different view," said Obama. "In his speech he said when he makes a promise to you he will keep it.  Well, he has promised to veto the Dream Act and we should take him at his word."

In his speech on Thursday, Mitt Romney did not specifically mention the Dream Act.  He described Mr. Obama's decision as a "stopgap measure" but did not say if he would reverse the policy if he is elected president.

Romney said Hispanics have a real alternative to casting their votes in November for Mr. Obama, who he asserted has failed to fulfill his promises to the nation's Hispanic voters.

"I believe he is taking your vote for granted," said Romney. "I have come here today with a simple message.  You do have an alternative.  Your vote should be respected and your voice is more important now than ever before."

Also addressing the Hispanic organization on Friday was Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who is a potential Romney vice presidential running mate.

He suggested that Mr. Obama used his executive order to end deportations for political reasons, asserting it wasn't a "coincidence" that the president had not spoken to the Hispanic organization in three years.

He decried the use of the immigration issue for political reasons by both political parties, urging what he called a balanced approach.

"There are too many people that have concluded that this issue unresolved is more powerful," said Rubio. "They want it to stay unresolved.  It is easier to influence elections, it is easier to use to raise money.  The only way to solve it is a balanced approach that recognizes that this is complicated."

In his remarks on Friday, President Obama said the Dream Act and immigration reform in general continue to be blocked by "stalemate" in Congress.  Republicans who had worked in the past for reform were "driven away from the table by a small faction in their own party".

Mr. Obama said as long as he is president he will not give up the fight for immigration reform.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid