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Latino groups urge Obama to ease up on deportations

Banner Staff | 3/13/2014, 6:05 a.m.
The National Council of La Raza had been one of the few remaining Latino advocacy groups to not openly criticize ...
President Barack Obama has come under fire from Latino advocacy groups for the record number of deportations during his administration. Advocates are calling on the president to use executive authority to halt the deportations. courtesy of the White House

“It is about ending the pain and suffering of millions of real people. It is about ending a patchwork of laws where even native-born U.S. citizens are at risk of arrest and detention. It is about ending a broken immigration system that ill-serves every sector of our society.”

Murguía is far from alone in her appeal to Congress.

On March 6, two days after the NCLR took a stand against President Obama’s deportation policy, more than 200 hundred leaders from Latino nonprofit and civic organizations from cities across the U.S. traveled to Capitol Hill to send a strong message to House Republican leadership that failing to act on immigration reform will have political consequences.

Part of the 2014 NCLR National Latino Advocacy Days, which brought hundreds of Latino leaders from more than 30 states to Washington for training on policy and legislative advocacy, the visit to the House targeted the office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

“House Republican leadership has hidden behind excuse after excuse for why they cannot move forward with immigration reform,” said Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, director of immigration and civic engagement at NCLR. “Political choices have consequences, and how they handle immigration reform in the next ten months will impact the political landscape over the next decade. Latinos won’t sit idly by while thousands more family members and friends get deported every day. Our community will continue to pressure House Republicans to act and the White House to intervene in unnecessary deportations. We will raise our voice at the voting booth, where we will remember who championed immigration reform and who stood in the way of progress.”

Latino advocates emphasize the growing power of the community’s vote as fuel for swaying political opinion on immigration reform. More than 11 million Latinos cast a ballot in the 2012 elections. The Hispanic vote grew by 15 percent between 2008 and 2012 — compared to 10 percent for black voters and 2 percent for white voters — and that growth is expected to continue as an average of 880,000 young Latino citizens turn 18 each year and become eligible to register to vote.