African Americans must support the President with immigration legislation
By Roger Caldwell
As the mid-term election heats up in 2014, all of the political experts and pundits keep reminding Americans that minorities and youth do not vote in mid-term elections. Based on statistics and the history of American politics they are correct, but minorities and youth are getting smarter, and more sophisticated.
Republicans think in the mid-term election they can say whatever they want and they will get voted in, with no challenge from the Democratic Party. But they are wrong, because their positions are standing in the way of progress and discriminating against minorities and immigrants. The demographics in the country are changing, and the Republicans can no longer treat 11 million immigrants as though they don’t exist.
Ninety-six percent of the registered African American population vote Democratic, and President Obama understands that he must mobilize his political base for the mid-term election of 2014. With over eight million Americans enrolling in the ACA, the President believes that his job approval rating will improve, and he must fulfill his promise that he made to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.
Univision anchor Jorge Ramos held Obama accountable for a promise the former Illinois Senator made during his 2008 bid for office, when he said, “I can guarantee that we will have, in the first year, an immigration bill that I strongly support.” It is now 2014, and the President has not been able to rally Congress toward a compromise to write a bill.
As we press fast forward, Latinos and immigration activists are challenging the President to fulfill his promise he made back in 2008. The immigration activists say there is tremendous anger in the immigrant community, because deportations near the two million mark for the Obama Administration. Many immigrants believe the Obama Administration is inhumane and devastating and destructive to families.
President Obama was able in 2012 to sign an executive order that has helped over 600,000 immigrants in the country. The program allowed work permits for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children who have been in school or the military can stay in the country. Immigration activists want this program expanded to more immigrants, but at this point the President has not made a decision.
In 2008 and 2012, the President promised the immigration community that he would start to fix the broken system, and they supported the President in the election. Many activists and immigrants say the President has run out of time, and they are warning him they will not support the Democrats in 2014. The activists are protesting, going on hunger strikes, and I am not sure what they hope to achieve.
Many Latinos and immigration activists must remember that immigrants include people from Africa, India, Russia, Caribbean, and Asia. The Immigration problem is a global challenge, and there must be different racial collaborations and coalitions to bring about a change in America. President Obama cannot bring about comprehensive immigration reform, without support from progressive organizations and African Americans.
African Americans are connected to the African Diaspora which is global, and this group needs in America our support. Comprehensive immigration reform is important to African Americans, because many of the people demanding their rights are Black, and some of them are in our personal families.
In order for the Black Congressional Caucus to win in 2014, and expand their base, they must put immigration reform in their platform. By supporting immigration reform, they support the President and a larger diversity vote for Democrats in 2014.
Republicans will continue to block immigration reform, and African Americans must be more vocal in their support. In the 2014 election, minorities and youth must vote, and African Americans must spearhead immigration reform with the President.