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Six Reasons Why Latinos May Stay Home on Election Day

The Latino community's disgust for Obama has turned into contempt for the man and his policies.

by
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

Bio

April 29, 2011 - 12:00 am
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That’s why Obama dug the immigration issue out of the freezer and flung it on the grill by calling a White House meeting of about 70 business, labor, and political leaders to restate his “commitment” to comprehensive immigration reform.

Oh, please. What commitment would that be? Obama never wanted immigration reform to begin with. He only uses the issue like a carrot dangled in front of a burro pulling a plow.

And do you know who else doesn’t want immigration reform? At least three elements of Obama’s liberal base: labor unions who live under the fantasy that illegal immigrants who tar roofs, pick peaches, build homes, clean horse stalls, and do other hard and dirty jobs are stealing gigs from Teamsters; African-Americans — who after generations of blaming whites for their misfortune, mistakes, and misdirection — have now taken to blaming Latinos for taking jobs; and classic liberals who only care that the Democratic Party keeps winning elections so it can fry the big fish (universal health care, redistribution of wealth, turning U.S. foreign policy into a war-free zone, and giving peace a chance, etc.) and who worry that immigration reform will cost Democrats the support of white voters.

That’s why the White House meeting was nothing more than pre-election year public relations. The only question is whether Latinos will fall for it, and let Obama off the hook.

Some won’t. They include Los Angeles-based activist Juan Jose Gutierrez, who was among the many who turned out to protest Obama’s visit. He told a Univision reporter that Latinos were fed up with Obama breaking his promise of reform and then turning around and breaking deportation records.

The disenchanted also include Chicago-based activist Emma Lozano, who told a reporter recently that, if she could say one thing to Obama, it would be this: “We’re getting the shit kicked out of us by you and your administration.

And they include Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-IL, who recently declared that he is undecided about whether to support Obama’s reelection bid. He has started a 20-city tour meant to embarrass Obama and the administration. Gutierrez wants Obama to use his executive power to halt deportations.

Fat chance. If Obama does that, he’ll pay a price during the election — especially from white voters, many of whom probably somehow find the idea of mass deportations oddly reassuring and consider it a viable strategy to reverse demographic trends.

Which brings us to the last thing you need to know about this latest Obama drama: This administration’s immigration policy is all about winning the votes of white people, not losing them. Keep it straight, people.

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Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a member of the editorial board of the San Diego Union Tribune, a nationally syndicated columnist, a frequent lecturer, and a regular contributor to CNN.com.
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