A Promise Deferred Is a Promise Broken

Latinos expect President Obama and Democrats in Congress to deliver on immigration reform, and no reform may mean no support come election time, writes Henry Fernandez.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) speaks at a rally for immigration reform on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) speaks at a rally for immigration reform on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Read the full column at CAP Action

President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have a problem. The large Democratic majorities that delivered the president and both houses of Congress electoral victories were built on a new coalition—and that coalition has at its core Latino voters. Senator Reid’s strong majority in the Senate and also his own re-election in Nevada rely on the Latino vote. But Latino support for Democrats has taken a dive over the last seven months (see graph).

latino support

Let’s go under the hood to understand this collapse of support. President Obama repeatedly stated during his campaign and postelection that he would deal with immigration reform in his first year. Spanish-language media dubbed this "La Promesa de Obama," or "Obama’s Promise." The problem that Obama faces with La Promesa can be witnessed in a September interview of Obama by Jorge Ramos, a Univision news anchor who is watched and trusted by millions of Latino Americans.

But what I wanted to ask you is about what Latinos call, "La Promesa de Obama"—Obama’s promise. On May 28 you told me, and I am quoting, "What I can guarantee is that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support." And then I asked again, "in the first year?" And you said, "Yes, in the first year." This is your promise and the question that many of them have is: Are you going to keep your promise? Can you do it before January 20?

Read the full column at CAP Action

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Henry Fernandez

Senior Fellow