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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid