Mitt Romney seems to have realized the importance of Latino votes to win US presidential elections 2012. But Republicans may find it difficult to fool the Latino population
A day after Republican candidate Mitt Romney, it was the turn of President Barack Obama to address the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on Friday.
Unlike the former, the President’s speech evoked a tremendous response. He hit out at his rival for giving mixed messages on how to handle illegal immigration.
Fully confident of big support he enjoyed among Hispanic population Obama reminded the friendly audience that Romney had promised to veto the DREAM Act, which would help the children of illegal immigrants win citizenship.
Explaining his last week announcement Obama claimed he chose to halt the possible deportations of 800,000 young illegal immigrants because Congress was stalling on the issue.
Referring to Mitt Romney’s speech on the same platform, he said: “Your speaker from yesterday has a different view. In a speech he said that when he makes a promise to you, he’ll keep it. Well he has promised to veto the DREAM Act, and we should take him at his word.”
The Democrat President received standing ovations from the crowd when he talked about healthcare reform and his decision not to target young illegal immigrants for deportation. He also pledged to make overhauling US immigration rules to better serve businesses and make life easier for families and workers core to his economic agenda in a second term.
Rhetoric apart, Latinos are not fully happy with Obama’s economic policies as unemployment among them reached 11 per cent and millions of Hispanics are living in poverty.
But then Romney too angered 50 million Latinos, during the Republican primaries by saying illegal immigrants could “self-deport” out of the country.
However, he softened his tone at the NALEO conference a day earlier, stressing immigration was essential to US economic prosperity, but offered few details on his approach to dealing with those now living illegally in the country.
However, in private many Republicans concede that Romney was going to struggle to win votes from the Hispanic community in the coming November 6 election.