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The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) issued the following statement following tonight’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama:
“The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) is encouraged that President Obama made job creation and moving the economy forward a central message in his address to the American people. Latinos have been disproportionately affected by the recession and job losses, and we urge the White House and Congress to work on policies to assist Latino families as they work to preserve their piece of the American dream.
“We are energized by the President’s remarks highlighting the key role immigrants play in our nation’s economy. We are a unique nation founded by immigrants, and should recognize that immigrants are crucial to our economic recovery. We also join the President in urging passage of the Dream Act, so that, in his words, we ‘stop expelling talented, responsible young people… they grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation.’ Yet the Dream Act is but one element of an overall comprehensive immigration reform which is necessary today.
“The President, however, missed an opportunity to address one of the most immediate issues in our democratic process: redistricting. As legislatures and commissions take on the decennial task of redrawing legislative districts, we must insist that the processes be open, transparent and ensure everyone has the opportunity to fair representation. We call upon the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure full adherence to the Voting Rights Act as the new legislative maps are drawn and implemented across the country.
“NALEO appreciates the President’s call for continued bipartisan cooperation. As demonstrated recently by Latino members of Congress at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute gathering which welcomed new members, the only way we can effectively address the issues of critical importance to our nation and the Latino community is by working together across party lines to strengthen our nation and our democracy.”