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Spanish Language Media Reacts Harshly to Obama’s Immigration Delay

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La Opinion, Telemundo and Univision Criticize Broken Promise, While Recent Latino Polling Shows Missed Political Opportunity

President Obama’s announced delay of immigration executive action is being greeted harshly by leading Spanish language media outlets.  Check out the blistering headlines from the past few days in the nation’s largest Spanish language newspaper, La Opinión (translated by America’s Voice): “Delay in immigration relief means more family separations,” “Disappointment: Obama postpones immigration relief,” “White House tries to soothe betrayed immigrants,” and “Pro-immigrant advocates disappointed by the delay in immigration relief.” Here’s an image of the Sunday paper’s front page print edition, titled: “Obama Doesn’t Dare.”  La Opinión also issued a blistering editorial, titled “The Deportation Strategy,” which reads in part:

In the end, it is another promise followed by disappointment that will cost about 70,000 deportations in the best of cases.  That is, if the new deadline is met after legislative elections for President Obama to take executive action on immigration to ease deportations.

The rationale for the new delay is explained as an action to prevent politicizing the issue prior to the November elections.  Unfortunately, it is too late to fulfill that objective … It is hard to say which is worse: the delay or the way it was announced.  The separation of families that will continue to occur over that period or the Democrats’ lack of courage to take up a just cause and defend their principles instead of fearfully taking cover when the immigration issue is raised.

It would seem that Democrats are taking the unconditional support of Latinos for granted.  It is true that there are real differences between the two parties.  However, for the 1,120 people deported every day, Democrats and Republicans are the same.  For them, both parties are currently using immigration for a political position that is reinforced with the separation of families … Today, undocumented immigrants are expendable.  It matters not what was said before or even what is right or wrong.  That is the Democrats’ strategy for the election.

Latino voters should remember this entire story of immigration reform, those responsible, their failure, and how a president who is offended when called the ‘deporter-in-chief’ has no problem continuing the deportations in exchange for votes.”

Meanwhile, Univision led their national newscast with a story titled (translation by America’s Voice), “New Blow To The Illusion of Millions of Undocumented,” while coverage on the Univision.com website included the story, “Disappointment and anger at Obama’s delay for executive actions.”  Telemundo’s political affairs show Enfoque featured extensive commentary and blistering reactions from leading DREAMers and other advocates.

The anger, frustration, and disillusionment captured in the Spanish language media coverage is likely to have a political impact this November.  Latino Decisions’ Matt Barreto issued a new analysis today, “Did Dems Miss an Opportunity for Latino Mobilization,” citing recent polling and research on how Latino voters would react to executive action on immigration – or a failure to follow through on stated pledges for action.  Key analysis includes:

a lack of action by Obama on immigration policy will result in a majority of Latino registered voters feeling less enthusiastic about turning out to vote in the midterm election.  A majority also report they would be less enthusiastic about supporting the Democratic Party in November.  Our June 2014 poll with the Center for American Progress asked Latino registered voters the following two questions:

The President can adopt many changes to immigration policy by himself as the head of the executive branch of government. If President Obama decides NOT to sign any executive orders, and makes no changes in immigration policy, would that make you feel more enthusiastic or less enthusiastic about… { supporting Democrats in the November 2014 election? / turning out to vote in November 2014? }

Overall, 57% of Latinos said failure to act would leave them less enthusiastic about voting Democrat, and likewise 54% said they would be less excited about turnout to vote at all.

In contrast, when posed with a scenario in which President Obama did enact executive orders on immigration policy before the November election, 87% of Latino voters said that would make them MORE enthusiastic about casting a ballot for Democrats in the 2014 midterm.  That’s a huge shift from +87 to -57.  There is no doubt that Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate and the House will still win an overwhelming majority of Latino votes this November.  Republicans have done nothing to improve their standing with Latino voters since losing 75% of the Latino vote in 2012.  However the important question is how many Latino voters will be motivated to cast a ballot in November.

There is no doubt that this issue is incredibly salient and personal to many Latino voters, and the extensive discussion – including from sources inside the White House – that executive action on immigration policy was imminent raised expectations for relief from deportation and legal status.  Now that the President has put off the decision to take action, polling data from Latino Decisions suggests Latino voter enthusiasm will be much lower in November 2014, than if the President had acted now.