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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid