News / USA

Obama Urges Hispanic Support on Immigration, Economy

US President Barack Obama shakes hands after speaking at the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC, July 25, 2011
US President Barack Obama shakes hands after speaking at the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC, July 25, 2011

In an address in Washington to a major Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, President Barack Obama has underscored his determination to achieve comprehensive reform of the nation's immigration laws. The president also used the address to make some points about the current difficult deficit and debt negotiations with Congress.

The president's address to the National Council of La Raza came at a time when he is working to maintain or win back support from Latinos whose votes he will need to win re-election in 2012.m

Among the statistics forming a backdrop to the appearance: his approval rating among Hispanics suffered a four-point decline recently, from 59 percent to 55 percent, according to a recent Gallup survey.  

At the same time, public-opinion polls show immigration reform remains a critical issue for Hispanics, including those attending the largest annual gathering of Latinos.

Introducing the president, the head of La Raza, Janet Murguia, praised his efforts to improve the lives of Hispanic-Americans, and bring Latinos into his administration, but she also noted "unfinished business" when it comes to immigration.

"Virtually everyone in this room has been affected by our nation's broken immigration system and the record number of deportations," said Murguia.

In his remarks Obama recalled a pledge he made as a presidential candidate in 2008 to make immigration reform a top priority in his first year in the White House. He acknowledged frustration the goal has not been achieved.

"I share your concerns, and I understand them, and I promise you we are responding to your concerns and working every day to make sure we are enforcing flawed laws in the most humane and best possible way," said Obama.

The president again blamed inaction on immigration reform, and related legislation called the Dream Act, which would provide a citizenship path for certain children of illegal immigrants, on congressional Republicans who he said have blocked progress.

"Twenty three Republican senators supported comprehensive immigration reform because they knew it was the right thing to do for the economy and it was the right thing to do for America," he said. "Today they have walked away. Republicans helped write the Dream Act, because they knew it was the right thing to do for America. Today, they have walked away."

Obama told La Raza that Hispanics have benefited from steps his administration has taken to improve the U.S. education system, including help for English language instruction and investing in community colleges.  

The president also used the speech to reiterate broad themes of his struggle with Republicans in Congress to achieve what he calls a balanced agreement to cut deficit spending and raise the nation's $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2.

Noting that Hispanic families struggle with millions of other Americans in a tough economy, he reiterated his readiness in negotiations to make cuts "by historic amounts" in key government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Saying the United States "can not just close deficits by cutting spending" Obama also spoke about what he called the "heart of this debate."

"Are we a nation that asks only the middle class and the poor to bear the burden, after they have seen their jobs disappear and their incomes decline over a decade? Are we a people who break the promises we have made to seniors or the disabled, and leave them to fend for themselves?" he asked.

Saying Washington is a city "where compromise is becoming a dirty word," Obama urged Hispanics to remember that he and Democrats are with them when it comes to the need to change America's "broken immigration system."

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
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 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 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 Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
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.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid