The Latino community in Los
Angeles Wednesday called on the White House to carry out immigration
reform so that immigrant fathers will not be deported from the
United States as a way to mark the coming Father's Day.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), the Los Angeles Family Unity Commission and immigrant fathers held a "Dreams of Our Fathers" press conference to honor fathers and called on the Obama Administration to keep families united, grant immigration relief to students, families and workers, and end programs that encourage racial profiling such as "Secure Communities."
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, communication director of CHIRLA, told Xinhua that on Father's Day last year on June 17, the White House issued a memo which directs immigration officials to review 300,000 deportation cases and prioritize only those who are a danger to society.
But so far, 99 percent of the cases have been denied, Cabrera said, adding that has made tens of thousands of families without fathers or mothers on the coming Father's Day.
"The Latino and Asian communities are disappointed at President Barack Obama's immigration policy," said Cabrera.
"The Latino community wants to take the opportunity to call for attention to the issue that will have an impact on millions of immigrants," said Cabrera.
Over a dozen fathers showed up at the press conference. One father held a sign reading: "Obama: You are a Dad too." Another sign says: "Don't separate our families."
Statistics show that the U.S. immigration authorities have sustained a fast pace of deportations during Obama's presidency, removing nearly 400,000 foreigners in each of the last three years, with Latino communities taking the brunt of those deportations.
Obama enjoyed strong support from the immigration community, especially from the Latino community in his election campaign four years ago because of his pledge on immigration reform.
However, four years later, White House officials have concluded that there is no chance before this year's presidential election to pass the immigration overhaul that Obama promised, which would include paths to legal status for illegal immigrants.
In his bid for the second term, Obama continues to roll out efforts to woo Latino voters, but Latino and immigrant advocates say Obama's message will be hard to swallow without better attempts to reform the administration's deportation policies.
The Obama administration has pledged to focus its deportation efforts only on illegal immigrants who could be considered the "worst of the worst," as some have put it, and in November last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began reviewing about 300,000 backlogged immigration cases.
However, data released by the department show that fewer than 10 percent of the undocumented immigrants qualify for relief from the system, or "prosecutorial discretion."
Polls show Obama has a strong lead over his Republican competitor Mitt Romney among Latino voters. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/ Telemundo poll from last month found that Obama led Romney 61 to 27 percent among registered Latino voters nationally. However, just 68 percent of Latino voters expressed high interest in the upcoming election, in comparison to 81 percent of all voters.
Republicans have used the Obama administration's high deportation rates to chip away at his standing among Latino voters.
Republicans have launched a full-scale assault on Obama's Latino support by attacking him on the economy and immigration. Some are even calling him "the most anti-immigrant president" ever.
The Latino vote has been referred to as the "sleeping giant." According to a report released by the Center for American Progress (CAP) recently, in eight states, the number of potential Latino voters is greater than the margin in the 2008 presidential election.
According to CAP, California's nearly 4.5 million potential Latino voters surpass by four times the one million voters that were the margin of victory in the 2008 presidential election.
An estimated 21.5 million Latino voters are eligible to vote, with an additional 8.1 million green-card holders that would have been eligible to vote if they get naturalized and registered before late October, according to CAP.
Obama has spent about $1.7 million on Spanish language ads since mid-April in Florida, Nevada and Colorado, according to SMG-Delta, a media firm that tracks campaign advertising.
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