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Latinos Should Withhold Support From Democrats

Latinos Should Withhold Support From Democrats

By Arturo Carmona - October 9, 2014

Given President Obama’s latest betrayal of the Latino community—delaying any executive action on deportations—it is time for Latinos to take a stand for the value of our own lives by reconsidering our votes.

For months, President Obama promised that he—and the rest of the nation—were done with Republican obstructionism on immigration reform. On March 14, he indicated he would instruct Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to produce recommendations for executive actions to bring relief to millions of immigrant families suffering in the shadows.

But that turned out to be yet another broken promise after four Democratic senators used their sway to persuade Obama to throw Latinos under the bus until after the midterm elections. For Sens. Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor and Jeanne Shaheen, the lives of Latinos are not nearly as important as their personal political gain.

And let us not forget what came before.

President Obama, once our supposed savior, has deported more people—separating more families, terrorizing more immigrant communities—than any American president before him. We won't soon forget the midnight ICE raids, the out-of-control Border Patrol that has killed numerous unarmed Mexicans and other migrants, or any other aspect of his ruthless enforcement of America's broken, inhumane immigration laws.

Obama and the Democratic Party are trying to make the argument that because so many Republicans have shown themselves to be xenophobic at best, anti-immigrant and blatantly racist at worst, that we should be thankful to Democrats for tolerating us.

No. We deserve to have our lives, our families, valued the same as any other American life and American family.

The 2014 midterms aren’t here yet, but in political time the 2016 elections are just around the corner. So as potential presidential candidates start jockeying for position in the Democratic and Republican parties, it's worth asking whether any of them will be able to excite an increasingly disaffected Latino electorate.

Presente Action is taking the bold move of asking our members to consider voting against the “dirty four” —the Senate Democrats who persuaded Obama to continue his inhumane deportations until after the election: that means you, Sens. Hagan, Landrieu, Pryor, and Shaheen.

This was not an easy step for us—and it is clearly not a popular opinion among Democratic insiders—but we believe it is necessary if we are ever going to see politicians of any party approach the Latino constituency as one to be catered to, not spat on.

It's easy to see the Republican Party's incessant pandering to the most xenophobic elements of its base. But after a string of broken promises, the Democrats have much work to do to win back the trust of Latino voters before 2016.

The Democratic Party is not our friend simply because members of the Republican Party have worked so hard to become our enemy. No matter what the Democratic candidates are saying on the campaign trail or in press releases, with their actions Democratic elected officials are telling us that they no longer have the well-being of Latinos and other immigrant communities at heart. And we are hearing them loud and clear.

So with 2016 just around the corner, it remains to be seen whether any Democrat will be able to overcome Barack Obama's record of broken promises to regain the trust, and the votes, of Latinos. 

Arturo Carmona is executive director of Presente Action and Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latino organizing group.

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