News Column

Geraldo Rivera: Obama the 'First Hispanic President'

March 20, 2009


geraldo rivera, barack obama, hispanic president

Speaking at a conference on immigration, TV personality and journalist Geraldo Rivera on Thursday said he believes President Barack Obama is going to deliver on a campaign promise to undo what Rivera considers to be unfair immigration policies, referring to Obama as "the first Hispanic President," CNS News reported.

"Barack Obama is the first Hispanic president the same way Bill Clinton was the first black" president, Rivera said, during the 13th annual U.S.-Mexico Congressional Border Issues Conference on Thursday at the Capitol.

Rivera's statements came a day after Obama met with Hispanic legislators in Washington to assure them that he plans to soon take up immigration reform, according to the Dallas Morning News.

At the conference, which was put on mostly by Democratic lawmakers and pro-immigrant activists, a panel of experts agreed that Obama needs to provide a path to citizenship for the 12 to 14 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.

Rivera, one of the panelists, also said the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department (ICE) needs to "stop the raids" focusing on the 12 million illegal immigrants, and start concentrating on the Mexican drug lords whose violent territory wars over that past year in Mexico have led to thousands of deaths.

He also accused the media of pandering to the most virulent of immigration hard-liners for ratings.

"If you want to cure a low-rated program or unpopular host, all you have to do is bash an undocumented immigrant or illegal alien," he said.

Meanwhile, after Obama's Wednesday meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus -- which consists of all Democrats and one independent -- lawmakers told the Morning News they were pleased with Obama's remarks.

Obama told the group he will announce a new policy initiative on the matter possibly within the next couple months.

"The president said more than any of us expected him to say," Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., told the paper. "He was clear, eloquent and determined in letting us know that we're all together on the route to comprehensive immigration reform."

Source: (c) 2009. All rights reserved.

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