Democrat Congressman Luis Gutiérrez - Harsh Criticism of Obama's Immigration Record
Hispanics have become more and more critical of President Barack Obama over his failures to deliver on promises made to their community during the 2008 presidential campaign. Remember, Obama promised he would pass immigration reform during his first term in office. In fact, during the first 14 months of his administration, he had majority control of both the House and the Senate. He could have passed any bill he wanted without a single Republican vote. Yet, he failed to address this issue, which is important to all Americans.
Last week, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez appeared on Fox News Latino with Juan Williams to discuss immigration reform and the Obama Administration. Gutiérrez led the fight for immigration reform in 2009 and desperately attempted to get Obama to do something. During that period, I was working on an Immigration Reform Task Force for one of our local Congressmen drafting alternative solutions to Gutiérrez' proposals. The Obama administration and Nancy Pelosi never moved on any of these proposals.
Gutiérrez felt so rejected by the Obama Administration that in 2010, and again in 2011, he was handcuffed and arrested outside the White House protesting the lack of immigration policy. He told Williams during the interview, "...I was demanding that the leader of my party, first of all, my nation, somebody that I supported for President, but the leader of the United States of America wasn’t keeping the promise he made."
Gutiérrez continued, "But I am, I believe, a reflection of an anger that exists in the Latino community—and in the immigration community—because there is a broad base immigrant community in the United States of America. But when we see a President that stands up for healthcare, that stands up for Pell Grants, that stands up for community and so many, and I think when…"
Gutiérrez' feelings about the Obama Administration's relationship with the Hispanic community are shared broadly across the country. Groups like Latinos Ready to Vote, Cafe con Leche Republicans and VOCES Action have been expressing these concerns as well.
The bottom line is, the Obama Administration has been leading the Hispanic community like one would lead a donkey with a carrot. He has made many promises and failed to deliver on all of them.
That said, Republicans cannot simply assume Hispanics will vote for them or even against Obama. The harsh rhetoric that has been thrown about by the Republican Presidential Nominee-apparent, Mitt Romney is not helpful in earning the support of this community. Here in Texas, the 2010 Platform of the Republican Party of Texas was so filled with harsh rhetoric toward Hispanics and immigrants that Democrats used it to keep a wedge between conservative leaning Hispanics and Republicans.
We must also continue to welcome conservative Hispanics like Texas State Representative's J.M. Lozano and Aaron Peña who have boldly moved from the Democrat party to the Republican Party. It is this kind of leadership that will help keep Texas a Republican state while the population demographics continue to change.
Next week, in Fort Worth, the Republican Party of Texas has an opportunity. An opportunity to invite conservative Hispanics to join with Texas Republicans to defeat Obama and spread the message to other states. We must make changes to the Platform that, while continuing to reflect the values of our party, will deliver a better message to Hispanics that they are welcome in our party.