“Broken Promise” on Immigration Reform May Affect Fall Elections

Photo: Nate Hofer

(Photo: Nate Hofer/flickr)

Hispanics are getting fed up with Obama’s “broken promise,” on immigration reform, Univision’s Jorge Ramos told Politico.

“If he was able to get 60 votes for financial reform, if he can get 60 votes to extend unemployment benefits, how come he can’t get 60 votes for immigration reform?” Ramos asked. “So many Latinos feel there is a lack of leadership, and he is not fighting for immigration reform with the same intensity that he fought for health care reform.”

Ramos, an extremely influential figure in Spanish-language media, conducted an interview with Obama in 2008, in which the president promised to work on a reform bill during his first year in office. That broken promise has withered Obama’s approval rating among Hispanics, currently at 54%, according to the latest Gallup poll. That’s a drop of 28 points from its 82% high in May 2009.

But it’s unclear how this disappointment will actually affect Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.

“They know they are in trouble with the Hispanic community, and the problem in November is the Hispanic vote may be up for grabs again,” Ramos said. “My fear is they might not vote. They don’t feel protected or supported by either party.”

Despite Hispanic disenchantment with the Democratic party, a National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) survey of voters in four states (California, Colorado, Florida and Texas) with large Hispanic populations shows that a majority (61%) will “definitely” vote in the November midterm elections. Immigration is the top issue for these voters.

Ramos told Politico he never expected much from the Republican party, but held Democrats in Congress to a different standard. Meanwhile Obama upset Hispanic voters yet again last week by signing a $600 bill to strengthen enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Apparently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn’t worried. He recently told an audience of Hispanic voters, “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, OK,” Reid said. “Do I need to say more?”

Reid is facing off against Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle in Nevada this fall, who opposes the DREAM Act and has questioned the 14th amendment providing birthright citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants.

AboutFeet in Two Worlds
Feet in 2 Worlds (Fi2W) is an independent media outlet, journalism training program, and launchpad for emerging immigrant journalists and media makers of color. Our work brings positive and meaningful change to America's newsrooms and has a broader impact on how immigration is reported and the ethnic and racial composition of news organizations.