National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, Latino Advocates Address 'Setback' of Obama Immigration Executive Action Delay
A coalition of 39 national Latino advocacy organizations responded to President Barack Obama's executive action delay on immigration.
The coalition, known as the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, expressed "anger" and "disappointment" with Obama's decision to delay an executive action. National Council of La Raza President and CEO Janet Murguía said the two major political parties do not support Latinos when the community needs them.
"There's a lot of speculation on the political effect of immigration," said Murguía. "But there's no speculation about the devastating consequences of inaction, and that is what really angers us the most regardless who wins or not in November."
The NCLR president said the effects of immigration relief inaction will result in tens of thousands of families "disrupted" and business will be loss.
"They are not just hurting the Latino community but our country," Murguía said, adding there are "overwhelming" benefits to immigration reform.
Obama's decision to delay executive action has reportedly affected voter registration. The organizations of the NHLA have made efforts to register voters ahead of the November elections, but Murguía said their job "has gotten harder" based on his delay executive action.
Despite the setback of executive action inaction, Murguia and the character of the Latino community is to advance when challenged.
"Our expectations have only gotten higher," said Murguía, but she noted that the delay should result in a "bolder and meaningful" action as it could affect his legacy.
"I trust that the president cares a great deal about his legacy, and I do believe because of that we will see action by this president, if not after the election, certainly before he leaves office. I just don't think he's going to let his legacy be 'the president who deported more than any other president of the United States," said Murguía, adding Obama might act in his own self interest, which gives her some confidence as he enters his last stage of his presidency.
According to NHLA Chair Hector Sanchez, he's reflected on the issue and there's no doubt the announcement such as the delay is "devastating" but sometimes "change takes time." Sanchez, also the executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, said the delay now provides an element for immigrant rights supporters to be stronger, and the work quality of coming together will continue as long as the community understands that the "essence of democracy is to vote."
League of United Latin American Citizens Executive Director Brent Wilkes, with over 20 years experience on the issue, said it's been disappointing to see the "meager" success of immigration reform.
"It's a lack of respect and a setback," said Wilkes, but added there is an opportunity for a strong voter turnout and it could change the entire narrative resulting in the president to act show that the "angry rhetoric did not work."
According to Murguia, advocates had to overcome frustration, cynicism and anger, but they will not give up their hopes and dreams to see comprehensive immigration reform.
"We will not rest until we get executive relief, said Murguía. "We are discouraged but we are not defeated."
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