The Obamas and Immigration: A Top Priority?

Not only does Sen. John McCain present his stance on immigration differently when talking to Spanish-language media (as we showed yesterday.)

So do the Obamas.

A few days ago, Michelle Obama was interviewed by one of the top Spanish-language radio hosts in the country, Eddie Piolín Sotelo, on his Piolín en la mañana show. Mrs. Obama had this to tell Sotelo about immigration reform:

This will be at the top of his agenda, you know, along with ending this war in Iraq responsibly.

At another point Mrs. Obama said, “We need the Latino community and we’re gonna do everything in our power,” to attract their votes.

But going back to Sen. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the DNC a couple of weeks ago, one needs to look hard in the transcript to find that little nugget he dedicated to the issue of immigration.

“Passions may fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.”

He referred to immigration as lowering American salaries, which clearly isn’t the way most Latinos see the issue. And then he didn’t address so many aspects of the issue. What about the undocumented people already here? What about the undocumented students who want to go to college? Driver’s licenses? The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raids that have scared people across the country?

This week, as John McCain had done, Obama sat down for an interview with a Univision anchor; this time it was María Elena Salinas. (We haven’t found an English transcript of the original conversation, so this is our re-translation of the Spanish translation.)

Salinas asked Obama whether he would call for a stop to immigration enforcement raids, to which he replied that he considers the raids a publicity trick to try to shift people’s attention from the lack of immigration reform. Obama added that what is needed is comprehensive reform which provides strong border security and which punishes employers who take advantage of undocumented workers.

Again, nothing to write Mexico or El Salvador about. Many Latino voters may still be waiting to hear the candidates reconcile their statements to Spanish-language media with their speeches and comments to English-language audiences.

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