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Keep the Change, on Immigration?

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Change sign With President Obama now squarely at the helm of our nation’s immigration policy, advocates across the nation are fired up and ready for change on immigration- mostly, to be sure, because he promised some.

Yesterday’s New York Times, however, blasts the Obama administration for being too slow to implement real, comprehensive immigration reform, and too quick to extend Bush-era immigration policies that have led to widespread abuse. It mentions local protests bubbling up across the country that are part of a nation-wide call to halt these violations and pass real immigration reform.

The article also chides President Obama for seeming willing to alienate the same population whose votes were vital to putting him in office in the first place. Latino voters helped move four states from red to blue in 2008, and a majority of these voters identify personally with the immigration issue. The piece states:

“…the enforcement strategy has opened a political rift with some immigrant advocacy and Hispanic groups whose voters were crucial to the Obama victory.”

Simon Rosenberg, at a press event at NDN yesterday, echoed this sentiment, arguing that President Obama and Democrats in Congress would be foolish not to keep their promise to the Hispanic population and:

“lock in the gains that they’ve made with electoral victories in recent years.”

To be clear, thus far, the President has done well with Latino voters. Today MSNBC’s Mark Murray reports:

With the Senate beginning its debate on Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination today, it’s worth pointing out how stable Obama’s support among Latinos has been since he became president — even with his poll numbers falling back to earth.

In the Feb.-March NBC/WSJ poll, Obama’s approval among Latinos was at 67%; in April it was 76%; in June it was 71%, and July it was 66%. These percentages are consistent with the exit polls from November, which showed Obama getting 67% of the Latino vote.