For the first time since his decision to delay executive action, the President is slated to speak tonight to a group of Latino leaders at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Conference. He shouldn’t be surprised if he finds an audience frustrated by six years of broken promises and unmet expectations on immigration. Two important stories published this morning serve as the context for tonight’s event:
Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post, in a piece entitled “Growing evidence that Obama’s decision to wait on immigration is hurting Democrats” writes:
Less than a month after President Obama announced he would delay using his executive authority to reform immigration laws, there is evidence that the decision is doing exactly what he hoped to avoid: hurting Democrats. Activists in key states say it is increasingly difficult to register would-be Latino voters who would vote for Democrats because of unhappiness over the decision. …’The president has not helped us,’ said activist Leo Murietta, 28, who is working to register Latino voters in Colorado for Mi Familia Vota. ‘People are disappointed. They wanted action, they wanted activity, they wanted movement.’ With so many congressional and gubernatorial candidates locked in close races this year, Democrats can’t afford signs of complacency or sagging support. But Murietta and others believe that only action — not promises of action — will help spur increased turnout among Hispanics with just five weeks until Election Day.
The Obama administration carried out 438,421 deportations in 2013, a record number, bringing the total for President Obama to well over 2 million during his time in office, according to official figures published Wednesday….The figures show a continuing and pronounced shift away from removals of immigrants living in the interior of the country, toward a focus on swift expulsion of those caught crossing the border illegally, particularly along the border with Mexico… ‘You can’t look at this report and conclude that this administration has not been serious about immigration enforcement,’ said Marc R. Rosenblum, director of the United States policy program at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group in Washington. ‘This reinforces the message that he has been the deporter-in-chief,’ he said.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Whatever the President says tonight, it will inevitably fall short. After six years of too many deportations and too little reform, the only remedy is action. Unfortunately, under pressure from some Senate Democrats, the President made a calculated decision in hopes of saving the Senate. However that turns out, what we know for sure is that heroic efforts by organizers on the ground engaged in voter mobilization efforts are struggling because of that decision. We commend those on the front lines, call on all those committed to immigration reform to come out and vote and hope that the effort succeeds. If it does, it will be no thanks to a decision that put politics over people and the short-term over the long-term.