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United States: Immigration in the National Pre-Electoral Debate

Last week, immigration was discussed not only among Republican presidential candidates, but also mentioned by the President of the United States Barack Obama in his State of the Union address, the last of his presidency, which in turn outlined his agenda for the elections for the White House in November.

Mitt Romney leads the Republican candidature in the forthcoming presidential elections to be held in November (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Mitt Romney leads the Republican candidature in the forthcoming presidential elections to be held in November (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

President Obama called on Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform, while emphasizing his decision to post troops along the Mexican border which, according to Obama, has contributed to a decrease in the numbers of undocumented migrants crossing into the US. Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates who were meeting in Florida touched upon this issue of great interest to Hispanics, one of the highest-numbering minorities in this state.

However, both Mitt Romney – winner of the contest in Florida – and his nearest rival Newt Gringrich decided to mutually accuse one another of being anti-immigration, casting doubt upon the possibility of a concrete plan from the Republicans to tackle the issue.

As a result of the issue being raised by both the President and the Republicans, various Latino bloggers have expressed their feelings on the issue. For example, Anabella Bastida from Hoy en Los Ángeles (Today in Los Angeles) [es], states that President Obama's promises to pass a comprehensive immigration law must now be put into action:

Obama está alimentando las esperanzas de avanzar el tema migratorio, especialmente al mostrar interés y preocupación por los jóvenes brillantes y trabajadores que fueron traídos a este país cuando eran pequeños y viven también con el temor de ser deportados. Nuevamente escuchamos promesas. Promesas que sirven para animar o convencer a algunos. Promesas que nada valen si como comunidad, organizaciones, e individualmente, nos limitamos a únicamente escuchar y escépticamente pensar que no va a pasar nada. Nada es imposible.

Obama is fueling the hope that progress will be made on the migration issue, especially by showing his interest and concern for the brilliant and hardworking young people who were brought to this country when they were little and who still live with the fear of being deported. Once again we are hearing promises. Promises which serve to encourage or to convince some people. Promises which mean nothing if as a community, organisation or individually, we limit ourselves to just listening and sceptically thinking that nothing will come of it. Nothing is impossible.

Héctor B. Jiménez from Inmigración Al Día (Immigration Update) [es] mentions that while President Obama urges Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented students to continue their university studies, the Republicans have promised to prevent the Act from becoming law:

La mayoría de los precandidatos del partido republicano se han expresado en contra del Dream Act porque lo consideran una inmerecida amnistía a las personas que violaron las leyes al ingresar de forma ilegal al país. El precandidato republicano [Mitt] Romney, considera el Dream Act como una limosna y ha dicho que lo vetaría de tener la oportunidad de llegar a la Casa Blanca.

The majority of the short-listed candidates for the Republican Party have declared themselves to be against the Dream Act because they consider it to be an undeserved amnesty for people who violated the law by entering the country illegally. The Republican candidate [Mitt] Romney considers the Dream Act to be an act of charity and has said that he will veto it in order to stop it from reaching the White House.

Meanwhile, the blog Inmigrante TV (Immigrant TV) [es] criticised President Obama for failing to go into the subject in greater depth:

Los hispanos esperaban que en el discurso presidencial se mencionara una propuesta clara para una reforma migratoria a favor de más de 11 millones de indocumentados en el país, pero solo se limitó a pedir al Congreso que aprobara una reforma migratoria e hizo referencia a la seguridad que hay en sus fronteras, sin mayores detalles.

The Latinos were hoping that a clear proposal for reform in favour of the 11 million undocumented migrants in the country would be mentioned in the presidential speech, but the President limited himself to requesting that Congress pass a migration reform and making reference to the security which has been placed at the borders, without giving greater details.

In turn, some Twitter users declared themselves to be against President Obama's speech with some humour, such as Harold Pupiales (@HaroldPupiales) [es]:

Obama (Presidente de EEUU) dice que va enfrentar la inmigración ilegal; listo!!! pidamos visa a los gringos

Obama (President of the USA) says that he is going to confront illegal immigration; come on, let's ask the Yanks for a visa!

Some people like Marialuz Rodriguez (@rodriguezinmigr) [es] question whether the President neglected the issue of immigration in his speech:

¿Qué opinas presidente #Obama prácticamente ignorase tema #inmigración en discurso estado Unión? http://inmigracion.about.com/b/2012/01/25/obama-se-conforma-con-aprobar-la-dream-act.htm

What do you think about the fact that President Obama practically ignored the issue of immigration in his State of the Union address?

On the other hand, Jose Martínez-Díaz (@josefmtz) states that Cuban-Americans have found themselves isolated from other Latinos in the country because of their support for Mitt Romney, the overall winner in the primary elections held in Florida on January 31:

The ‘Cuban-American trifecta’ shows disconnect with Latinos outside Florida and endorses Romney: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/mitt-romney-florida-latino-republicans_n_1233613.html?ref=tw #Inmigracion #latism

Twitter users such as Turin (@r2rock) [es] remind the Hispanic population why they must not vote for a Republican candidate:

Latinos si vas a votar por #Republicanos recuerda que en los estados donde más atacan a los Latinos hay un Gobernante Replublicano al frente

Latinos, if you're going to vote for the Republicans, remember that the states which experience the most violence towards Latinos are those with a Republican governor.

Finally, Henry Toala Lainez (@htoala) [es] explains that the Hispanic vote will affect the destiny of Republicans and Democrats alike:

El #VotoHispano es muy importante tanto para #Democratas como #Republicanos ! Mediten su voto por quien ayude y apoye a los inmigrantes.

The Hispanic vote is very important for both Democrats and Republicans! Vote according to who helps and supports immigrants.
Thumbnail photo by pamhule reproduced under Licence CC-BY-2.0.

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