Much has been written over the years about President Obama’s lofty rhetoric, particularly when he was a candidate on the campaign trail in 2008.
His sweeping speeches were filled with huge promises.
Recently, the media was amazed when Univision’s Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas delivered what is widely considered the toughest interview of President Obama in this election cycle.
But why should they be surprised?
President Obama has not made any meaningful attempts to reform immigration policy, even though doing so would have a profound effect on short- and long-term economic growth.
“A promise is a promise,” Ramos said to the President. “And with all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise.”
Should we be surprised? Let’s examine the facts.
In 2007, when Congress was so close to finally achieving comprehensive immigration reform, then-Sen. Barack Obama voted for a so-called poison pill amendment that every senator knew would effectively kill the legislation.
Don’t believe me, just look at his "Yes" vote on the deal-breaking Dorgan Amendment and see for yourself. Perhaps he was against immigration reform before he was for it.
Three and half years later, many of those promises are left unfulfilled. This is evidenced by his pledge to tackle immigration reform, which has been all but forgotten. For the President, it’s not on the back burner. In fact, it’s not even on the stove.
The Hispanic community should not let him off the hook on immigration.
As is all-too common for this President, instead of taking the blame for the lack of progress on immigration, he found excuses and engaged in finger pointing against Republicans in Congress.
According to ABC News, “the President said he was also taken aback by the resistance he said he received from Republican lawmakers when he reached out to them about an immigration bill.”
When Latinos go to the polls on Nov. 6th, they should remember one critical fact about President Obama’s approach to immigration reform: he never really intended to lead on the issue. If it is true that Democrats are indeed the so-called champions of immigrants and reform legislation, then all we can do is wonder what happened.
In his first two years in office, the President enjoyed massive Democratic majorities, yet he never made any meaningful attempts to change our nation’s immigration laws. Obama has had three and half years to rectify that mistake; and instead of attempting to do so, he has punted the immigration issue at every opportunity.
What’s even more frustrating than the President’s stunning lack of leadership on this front is the fact that a formidable majority of Hispanics are expected to vote for him. Unlike the President, Gov. Mitt Romney is making an earnest and serious attempt to reform our broken immigration system and get Americans back to work. He outlined his intentions during a recent speech at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
In that speech, Governor Romney said, “Americans may disagree about how to fix our immigration system, but I think we can all agree that is broken,” Romney said. “For years, Republicans and Democrats seem to have been more interested in playing politics with immigration than with actually fixing it … I will work with Republicans and Democrats to permanently fix our immigration system.”
In his speech, the Governor also laid out his economic vision and clearly articulated why fundamental conservative philosophies of individual freedom and free enterprise appeal to Latinos.
I firmly believe that –if elected– Mitt Romney will lead on reducing the debt, creating jobs and immigration reform –not just because he made the promise– but because he keenly understands how important it will be to turning around America’s economy and creating jobs.
This election is just too important for Hispanic voters to give President Obama another free pass.
Javier Ortiz is a strategist, a partner at Falcon Cyber Investments, and an advisor on public policy and regulations for a D.C. based law firm.