How did Univision’s interviews affect Obama and Romney?

In a presidential election where immigration reform remains a hot-button issue, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney are both vying for the burgeoning Latino vote.

Robert Calcagno | Daily Trojan

In a Univision-sponsored “Meet the Candidates” forum last week, Obama was pressed by moderator Jorge Ramos about his unkept campaign promises of 2008 regarding immigration reform. Ramos even went as far as to blatantly call out the president, saying, “A promise is a promise and with all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise.”

The peak of campaign season comes with even more intense scrutiny of what Obama did and didn’t do in his first term. In light of the Univision forum and the stringent, detrimental changes that Romney would bring to immigration if elected president, it is crucial for Latino voters to look beyond the black and white of fulfilled or unfulfilled campaign goals to focus on the positive progress that Obama has made in the last four years.

Admittedly, Obama was not totally successful in bringing the sweeping immigration reform Latino voters have been waiting for. The president himself accepted defeat during the Univision interview, conceding the lack of immigration reform was his “biggest failure.” This is not calling attention to his failure, but rather having the courage, on the most-watched Spanish language television network in the country, to be honest with Latino voters — a decision that indicates a genuine commitment to this voter base.

And though he has failed to do what he promised in 2008, this is not because of a lack of effort. Obama and congressional Democrats have been attempting to push immigration legislation through since the president entered office. They have made significant strides: Obama’s Deferred Action program went into effect on Aug. 16, allowing undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought illegally to the United States before age 16 to apply for work permits and live without the fear of deportation.

Though this program was successfully enacted, Obama’s past immigration reform failures can be attributed to deep partisanship in Congress. His main immigration legislation — the DREAM Act, which would give residency to undocumented immigrants who either enlisted in the military or enrolled in higher education — was filibustered by Republicans twice and failed to pass in 2010 as a result.

Romney’s immigration policy, on the other hand, enacts reform through punishment rather than amnesty. He pledges to veto the DREAM Act and advocates for stricter hiring laws in order to push undocumented immigrants to self-deport. Romney’s harsh immigration policy will only further alienate Latino voters, and during the Univision forum, he used Obama’s failures to avoid confronting this fact. Where Obama communicated with Latino voters openly and honestly, Romney bashed and evaded instead.

Without a doubt, only small steps have been taken these last four years toward the widespread immigration reform that the United States so desperately needs. Yet Obama has clearly established that he is committed to making further progress.

In an era of political flip-flops, commitment is what will bring the nation closer to widespread immigration reform: a commitment to going beyond a temporary fix, like the Deferred Action program, to a permanent solution, such as signing the DREAM Act into law; a commitment to pushing through bipartisanship and the rule of law to find solutions for the issues that matter; and a commitment to taking a first term foundation and turning it into a second term reality.


Daffany Chan is a freshman majoring in print and digital journalism.  Point/Counterpoint runs Fridays.

1 reply
  1. David Francis
    David Francis says:

    None of our immigration policies are going to matter, if Obama returns for a second term? The only people it’s going to financially affect the taxpayers and the hundreds of billions of dollars to be extracted forcibly from their taxes.

    LOS ANGELES COUNTY – Year-end closing 2011 figures from the Department of Public Social Services reported that over $646 million in welfare and food stamp benefits were issued to illegal alien parents for their native-born children, announced Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. The $646.2 million consisted of $258 million in CalWORKs (welfare) and $388 million in Food Stamps) — a $21 million increase over the previous year. “With the $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for healthcare, the total cost for illegal aliens to this one County taxpayer exceeds $1.6 billion dollars a year,” said Antonovich. “These costs do not include the hundreds of millions of dollars for education.” Californians need to contact their Representative, specifically governor Brown and the Liberal State assembly and demand no more illegal alien pandering, or Californian taxpayers will be taxed even more from now to doomsday.

    GOD only knows the cost of illegal alien welfare in San Francisco, or come to that the rest of the state. But across the country it is rising continuously and neither political party seems concerned?

    President Obama is sure to enact another blanket amnesty as Reagan did in 1986. Only chance to stave-off any of immigration policies is to vote as many TEA Party legislators into Congress as possible. God help us from the two corrupt political parties if we do not? Better also be alert for Democratic Voter fraud now until November, because ACORN is NOT dead.

    The TEA PARTY (THE PEOPLE’S) PARTY should not be defined as just white people; they are not, they are millions of Americans of every nationality and skin color. My chapter has Hispanics, Black people, Asians from every walk of life. We are “The People “frustrated with the corruption in both parties. The Liberal oriented mainstream media have constantly lied about the agenda of the TEA PARTY. The TEA PARTY are moderate Constitutionalists, not the hard core Marxist-Communist-Socialists entrenched amongst the Democrats who want open borders and no laws to stop illegal migrants and immigrants from thrashing the U.S. taxpayers safety net.

    If you want higher taxes; higher gas prices at the pump; an archaic tax system that benefits the privileged in both parties; a ever growing federal government with rules and regulations that inhibit new business creation; and a president that is giving even more to the “freeloader” parasites that cohabit with the illegal alien invaders who are draining the state reservoirs of money.

    The 9th circuit court is run by a bunch of Liberal judges, who interpret the laws according to their plan, not to the edicts of the Constitution. If something isn’t done in the next presidency, America will be further overrun with –unfettered poverty. It’s still not a felony to cross illegally into this sovereign nation and as I see it and millions who are involved in the TEA PARTY, the laws have been ignored for years. Why should citizens or lawful immigrants with papers have to compete with illegal aliens? I just know America is in serious trouble with a 16 trillion dollar deficit, and no real enforcement to stop more human financial encumbrances entering through our borders or jetting in from a foreign country. It’s a real catch 22 situation with the winners being businesses using cheap labor, selling more TV and household appliances, food and a whole retinue of things needed to live. They go to the bank loaded down with their dollars, but the taxpayers must foot the bills for free health care, free children’s schooling to K-12, government housing and other special programs, while citizens-residents pay the immense bill.

    I am sure about is the plan of the TEA PARTY if they can eject many Democrats and Republican incumbents and replace them? It’s already happening and by replacing incumbents in the Republican Party can politically persist that the “LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT (E-VERIFY) and the BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP LAW” finds passage and enacted to restrain more illegal alien invaders. They bring their unborn babies here, to live as parasites of the U.S. taxpayer. The children of illegal aliens had no say in coming to America, but by the enactment of the BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP BILL, this incredulous expensive issue for taxpayers is resolved.

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