President Obama pressed with confidence about his future at the White House saying, "I've got another five years coming up," when asked why he hasn't passed immigration reform in a radio interview Wednesday with Univision.
Univision's Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo said he wondered since the president hasn't made major changes in immigration policies, and if he would still have support of the Latino community, given many are facing deportation and separation from families.
After saying declaratively that he's got more years in office to go, Obama added in the interview on immigration reform, "We're going to get this done. And absolutely, we have strong support in the Latino community because they've seen what we've been working on," he said.
The president later echoed the five-year line at a fundraiser in Miami Thursday evening, saying "[I]'m not done yet. I need five more years. We need five more years to reform an immigration system that doesn't work and make sure that we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants," he said.
Obama in the interview aruged that even though he hasn't been able to pass immigration reform, his work on the economy he says has helped millions of Latino families - things like housing initiatives, education platforms, extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance.
The president has tried for small pieces with immigration like pushing hard for the Dream Act, a proposal to help children of illegal immigrants go to college, but that failed to pass through Congress. He has been able to do some border initiatives and a program that keeps families together while they're applying to stay in the U.S.
Obama says Capitol Hill has been holding things up though for more reform.
"[T]he only way we're going to do this is to get something passed through Congress, and that's why we have to keep the pressure up. Unfortunately, the Republican side, which used to at least give lip service to immigration reform, now they've gone completely to a different place, and have shown themselves unwilling to talk at all about any sensible solutions to this issue, and we're going to have to just keep up the pressure until they act," Obama said in the interview.
The president charges that none of the Republican candidates "even support immigration reform," and that it should be easy decision then for Latinos to pick him then.
In what is likely the last Republican debate of the primary cycle, the GOP candidates seemed to focus on border security, but stopped short of a broad-based approach.
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas said in the CNN debate, "forget about the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and deal with our borders, put our resources on this border. This is what we need." Newt Gingrich noted he'd moved as many resources as it takes to the border states, adding "there are 23,000 Department of Homeland Security personnel in the D.C. area. I'm prepared to move up to half of them to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas."
And Mitt Romney praised Arizona's controversial rule, "the right course for America is to drop these lawsuits against Arizona and other states that are trying to do the job Barack Obama isn't doing." Rick Santorum pushed to "allow folks to enforce the law here in this country, to allow people who are breaking the law or suspicious of breaking the law to be able to be detained and deported if they're found here in this country illegally, as well as those who are trying to seek employment."
Obama also denied in the Univision interview any notion that he didn't follow through on a promise for immigration reform, "I would have only broken my promise if I hadn't tried. But ultimately, I'm one man. You know, we live in a democracy. We don't live in a monarchy. I'm not the king. I'm the president."
As for why politicians are always courting the Latino vote during elections, Obama said for him, it's not just about elections.
"I speak out to you even when I'm not running for reelection. This is -- which is why we've had so many conversations on this issue. But the fact of the matter is that, I think a lot of members of Congress, even during election time aren't paying attention to the Latino community. And unfortunately, I think that there's a politics that we've been seeing that is so focused on a negative attitude towards immigration," the president said.
The 2010 Census counted nearly 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States or, 16.3 percent of the total population.
As for the 2012 vote, it's estimated that the Latino vote will go up 26 percent from the last presidential election, and that Latinos will make up at least 8.7 percent or more than 12 million of the country's voters, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.