Will Obama's Visit to Puerto Rico Make a Difference?

ColorLines suggests that his visit won't make a difference with Latino voters.

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President Obama visits Puerto Rico. (Getty)

Julianne Hing of ColorLines is reporting that new poll numbers from Latino Decisions show that Latino voters view immigration reform as an issue that is as important as jobs and education. Thus, President Obama has his work cut out for him because of his lack of progress on immigration reform.

According to poll results, for the first time in recent months more than half -- 51 percent -- of respondents said that immigration reform and the DREAM Act were the most important issues facing the Latino community, while 18 percent of respondents claimed that education, and another 18 percent claimed that unemployment and job creation, were their chief concerns.

Passage of the DREAM Act is paramount to Latino voters, many of whom are upset about the President's deportation program and its effect on DREAM Act students. The program is also accused of erroneously deporting documented workers.

According to the article, Frank Sharry, executive director of the immigration-reform advocacy group America's Voice, says, "Democrats should be concerned about the growing disillusionment among Latino voters regarding the party's commitment to change in the area of immigration policy. While they're in much better political position than Republicans, they must deliver on their promises of immigration reforms if they expect Latino voters to deliver for them."

"Latinos who turn out in November 2012 are going to vote two to one for Obama," said Louis Desipio, a professor of political science and Chicano and Latino studies at the University of California, Irvine. "Obama can take the Latino vote for granted in some sense, but he shouldn't take turnout for granted." He added, "If Latinos are frustrated in 2012 as they tentatively are now regarding the nonmovement on immigration, that might mean a lower increase in turnout. What he needs to do is energize Latino communities to turn out."

President Obama has his work cut out for him because of his track record on immigration. Yes, he supported the DREAM Act, but it didn't pass. Now his only record on immigration is the deportation program, which speaks more to Republican voters than Democrat voters. It's going to take more than a visit to Puerto Rico to energize Latino voters. It's going to take swift action on creating a concrete path to citizenship sooner rather than later.

Read more at ColorLines.

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