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Hispanics Waiting on President Obama to Address Immigration Reform

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dream actThree months and dozens of cities into his “Change Takes Courage” campaign tour, Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is discovering that Hispanics all over the nation agree about one thing: President Obama must do something about immigration reform.

The Congressman began the “Change Takes Courage” tour in April, traveling around the country to Providence, Boston, Detroit, and many other cities, to call attention to the need for immigration reform and to push President Obama to take action.  At the events, commonly held in churches and other community areas, he has been hearing from immigrants who have been pushed to the edge and are increasingly vocal about making their voices heard.

According to Emma Lozano, executive director of the Chicago-based Centro sin Fronteras, an immigration advocacy group:

We came out in record numbers when we voted for Obama on a promise that he has broken.  And now he has to shore up, otherwise he won’t get a second term.  So we’re going to lock up our votes until he does.

Hispanics have good reason to be demanding more from Obama.  During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-candidate Obama said that immigration reform would be a priority in his first year of office.  He has said repeatedly that he believes Congress should pass the DREAM Act so that we can stop “expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.”

And yet, when the DREAM Act came to a vote last December in the Senate, it failed by an excruciatingly close 55-41 margin.  The bill has since been reintroduced, but Obama has yet to take the initiative in seeing to it that either that bill or more comprehensive immigration reform is passed.  In the meanwhile, the president has actually deported more immigrants than the previous President Bush, tearing families apart and sending young students back to countries they’ve never known.