Photo: Obama and the Latino Vote
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) calls on President Obama to exercise strong leadership on key issues affecting the second-largest population group in the nation. Given the current challenges facing the nation, including the fiscal crisis, now is the most opportune time for President Obama to fulfill his commitment to the advancement of the Latino community they feel.
Next week, President Obama will address the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) at its Annual Conference, the largest and most important gathering of the nation’s most influential individuals, organizations, institutions, and companies working with the Hispanic community. They are encouraging the President to embrace the opportunity provided by his attendance at the NCLR Annual Conference to announce meaningful progress on key policy issues of most importance to this segment of the American population.
Among the issues, NALEO urges President Obama to strongly promote and support negotiation and passage of The Dream Act. The President should also provide a more clear and expeditious process for implementing prosecutorial discretion to defer removal of DREAM Act eligible youth. The memorandum issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on this issue is a step in the right direction, but the Administration must establish a more uniform and transparent process to ensure stronger protections for these hard-working, law-abiding youth.
They are also urge the President to ensure that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) vigorously enforces the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protect Latinos from discrimination in the electoral process. The DOJ must carefully examine legislation enacted by jurisdictions that affects the ability of Latinos to register to vote and cast ballots (such as unfair restrictive photo identification requirements). It must also rigorously scrutinize the redistricting plans adopted by state legislatures, commissions, and other entities responsible for drawing new district lines. The DOJ should use its full authority to prevent the implementation of any laws, practices or redistricting plans that violate the VRA and jeopardize Latino voting rights.
The President should also continue to address the disproportionate impact of the recession on Latinos and their families.
In closing NALEO urged “As such, we ask for strong leadership, and a partnership, from the Administration and Washington in order to move our communities forward.”