Linswritings

Obama offers empty promises to Latinos

Posted on: June 3, 2011

A recent campaign e-mail shows a smiling Obama saying, “I want to sign the DREAM Act into law, but I need your help to do the hard work of changing minds and changing votes, one at a time.” Then the ad asks for a campaign contribution.

Finally, many Colorado Latinos are seeing the light and are tired of being viewed as an “expendable voting population.” Chicano activist and decades-long north Denver resident Ricardo Martinez walked precincts for Obama in 2008, but at the dawn of another  presidential election cycle, he said he is tired of “empty promises. When the elections come around, they always come courting us, and this is proving to be no different,” said Martinez, who co-founded the nonprofit advocacy group Padres Unidos. “Did Obama put as much effort in the time to pass the DREAM Act? I didn’t see him. Was he out there, twisting arms? I didn’t see that. Was he out there stomping around? I didn’t see that. All we see is that we’re an expendable voting population.”

As a result the e-mail infuriated the small but growing voting bloc that Latinos are holding rallies in a couple of weeks in front of  Democratic headquarters across the country — including Denver. In addition Latino youth groups will send a letter to Obama for America, asking the campaign to take the ad down.

According to a 20 year old youth organizer for Jovenes Unidos he said, “He shouldn’t be using the suffering and pain of people
who are at risk for deportation for fundraising for his campaign. He says he supports the DREAM Act, but he didn’t do enough. There were key votes within his party that if they would have voted yes, the DREAM Act could have passed.”

The young Latino block has an estimated 1 million Latinos in Colorado, or about 20 percent of the state’s population. About one in eight eligible voters in the state are Latinos, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. And much of the voting bloc’s power in Colorado is young voters. Thirty percent of those eligible to vote are between the ages of 18 to 29.

Now I’m not a big supporter of the DREAM Act, but it is good to see that people are beginning to wise up with the rhetoric of all the “hope and change” promises from Obama.

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