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Is Obama Raising False Expectations for Immigrant Community?

The President has often been criticized for his reluctance to act on immigration issues, but as his term in office nears its end, his accomplishments are being paired alongside his shortcomings and examined under a microscope. Although he has fared well with Hispanics, some critics claim that he has abused that position of favor and has been taking U.S. Hispanics for a ride on immigration issues. Now, some of the president’s closest Democratic allies are beginning to say the same thing. According to the Miami Herald, virtually all Hispanic Democrats in the U.S. Congress are stepping up their criticism of Obama for not doing more on the immigration front. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez from Chicago has gone on what a appears to be a national tour that has recently brought him to Miami to denounce Obama’s immigration stand, saying that he is playing games with Hispanics by claiming to be fighting for a comprehensive immigration reform, while not doing anything to stop the massive deportations of people who should not be deported.

President Obama had pledged during the 2008 campaign that he would pass an immigration reform law during his first year in office. Rep. Gutierrez feels that there are a few options the president could pursue yet he has been deliberately choosing not to. Some of these options include using his power to stop needless deportations, especially those of the estimated 65,000 undocumented students who would have been saved under the DREAM Act. Another way of helping the immigrant community that came out in record numbers to support if not vote for him in the past election would be to delay the deportation of the parents of the estimated four million U.S.-born children who have at least one parent who is undocumented and are consequently risking or actually having their families torn apart. Otherwise, the president could use his powers as he did with Haitians to give temporary residency status to Mexicans who face deportation to violence-ridden Ciudad Juarez. The reason for him not doing any of this, Rep. Gutierrez said, was because he does not “feel the pressure to do it, because he feels that Latinos will vote for him anyway. But this is a matter of life and death, that has to be taken seriously, and not be used to deceive the Latino community as we come near the next elections.” This Congressman is of the opinion that Obama’s recent calls for congressional passage of immigration reform law are merely a form of political posturing that makes for a good electoral strategy to gain sympathies among Hispanics ahead of the 2012 elections, but he is only raising false expectations within the Latino Community.

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