A project of the Center for Community Change

Latino vote poised to flex muscle

By Lawrence Benito, Angelica Salas

This article was originally posted on The Hill.

Nearly 7 million Latino and immigrant voters went to the polls during the 2010 midterms. To the surprise of observers, Latinos and immigrants made a huge difference from Colorado to Nevada and California — our turnout numbers may well have saved the U.S. Senate for the Democratic Party.

Since then, Latino and pro-immigrant electoral achievements have been even more impressive. The immigrant rights movement has racked up a string of local and national victories that should erase any doubts of our voting power: We are spearheading a demographic change that will completely upend political power dynamics in the country for generations to come.

So, we WILL vote. But the power and optimism of our movement is now being tested by President Obama’s appalling decision to delay relief for immigrant families. Squeamish Senate Democrats, some who owe their very seats to the Latino and immigrant vote, are complicit in this decision to sacrifice our families in deference to misguided political judgments. The painful move leaves our communities energized, but not in a way that Obama or Democratic leaders would like.

Our communities want to use their growing numbers to reward politicians who support...

President Obama Breaks His Pledge to Immigrant Families

WASHINGTON – Deepak Bhargava, on behalf of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), released the following statement today in response to President Obama’s decision to delay relief for immigrant families. Bhargava is the Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, a member of FIRM.

“In a breathtakingly harsh and short sighted political miscalculation, immigrant families were sacrificed today. Make no mistake – this delay will have tragic consequences for the fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who will be ripped from one another’s arms in the coming weeks and months. A delay of weeks may not seem like a lot to a politician in DC, but it is everything to a child who will lose his or her parents in that time.”

“President Obama has broken yet another promise he had made to immigrant families. By cowing before squeamish Democratic Senators and GOP bullies he has put politics ahead of the lives of immigrants and urgent needs of America. Immigrant families will respond to this lack of leadership with a brave and fierce determination to make sure promises are kept.”

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Immigrant-Rights Leaders React to Possible Relief Delay

WASHINGTON – In reaction to indications this week that the White House might delay relief for immigrant families, regional and national immigrant-rights leaders with the nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), held a telephonic press conference asking President Obama to be a leader and fight for families.

Following the call, the participants released the following statements:

Angélica Salas, Executive Director for the Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and National co-chair for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM)
“Whether this is a delay of weeks or months, the president would be exposing millions of mothers, fathers and children to the prospect of losing their families. Tens of thousands would be hurt by delay. Thousands of children will lose their parents. That’s thousands of lives damaged, families in financial difficulty, maybe homes lost, jobs unfilled, and kids without a mom or a dad. Even if we put aside our convictions for a second and look this strictly through the political lens, this is The White House operating not on the reality of the human suffering caused by our broken immigration system but on unfounded political fears.”

María Rodríguez, Executive Director, Florida Immigrant Coalition
“Relief for immigrant families is...

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