President Obama takes the first step to capture the Hispanic vote
The President could not get Congress to act on immigration reform. There was not even agreement in his own Democratic Party. And the Republicans were all over the political spectrum from electrified fences at our borders to pathways to citizenship. But, a good leader will sometimes take matters into their own hands even when their motives are suspect.
On Friday, June 15, President Obama issued an executive order potentially stopping the deportation of close to one million undocumented immigrants 30 years and younger. Children who have come to the United States when under the age of 16 and have stayed here in school (or they have a high school diploma or equivalent) or they are in the military (or they have been honorably discharged) and have lived here for the last five years and have no criminal record would qualify to apply for a renewable two-year reprieve from deportation.
Ironically, the Republican Candidate for President Mitt Romney did not strongly object to this action given that both parties are courting the Hispanic vote. So, sometimes the right things happen for the wrong reasons.
The Hispanic community and its leadership should now be negotiating with President Obama and the presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney for other community needs. Here is what I would want from Obama and Romney for support from the Hispanic community.
- A real jobs program through a public/private sector partnership with training and and job placement. This should include existing and new jobs.
- Federal targeted dollars for quality, early childhood education. This is necessary for going to school or going to work.
- Funding for public education.
- More loan funds for college students and training for work.
Now is the time to negotiate for needed resources in the Hispanic community. President Obama took the first step by opening the borders to young undocumented immigrants. The Hispanic community should be asking for more since their vote might decide the election in November.