Back in 2008, many of us did not understand why the Spanish-speaking media gave candidate Obama such a free pass on immigration.
After all, wasn’t then-Senator Obama one of the U.S. senators who forced the “poison pill amendments” on the McCain-Kennedy bill and showed very little interest in the subject as Ruben Navarrette has told us often?
Obama’s record in the Illinois State Senate was woefully thin when it came to advancing issues of concern to Latinos including immigration.
United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta said so when, in 2008, she famously called out Obama as a “Johnny come lately” to Latino concerns.
On immigration, as a freshman senator in 2006, Obama helped defeat an immigration compromise bill by authoring “poison pill” amendments intended to kill the bill by peeling off Republican support.
While running for president, he promised Latinos that he would make immigration reform a top priority and later broke that promise. Obama cared about health care reform, and it got done.
He doesn’t feel the same way about immigration.
Over the weekend, we learned more about what then-Senator Obama used to say about illegal immigration. It sounds a lot like what you hear from the right.
My question: Did any reporter from Univision or Telemundo read his book?
Check this out from Mr Obama’s book:
President Barack Obama once declared that an influx of illegal immigrants will harm “the wages of blue-collar Americans” and “put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”
“[T]here’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border—a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before,” then-Senator Obama wrote in his 2006 autobiography, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.”
“Not all these fears are irrational,” he wrote.
“The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama noted. “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”
If these feel like the words of one of Obama’s opponents, it’s because they’re the exact argument the president’s critics have been making as he now rushes to announce a sweeping executive order that would give work permits to millions of illegal immigrants in the country.
It gets better! Check out what he said about demonstrators waving Mexican flags:
“And if I’m honest with myself, I must admit that I’m not entirely immune to such nativist sentiments,” Obama wrote. “When I see Mexican flags waved at pro-immigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.”
My God! They called me a racist for saying something like that on TV! I remember objecting to foreign flags at U.S. demonstrations and hearing that I was intolerant and basically anti-immigrant.
Were Hispanics informed of this in the 2008 campaign, when Senator Obama was running around promising to fix the immigration problem in his first term?
Did any Spanish-speaking reporter raise his hand and say: Perdón…but you said this back in 2006″?
Did Spanish-speaking reporters read the book? I’m sure that there is a Spanish translation somewhere on the shelf!
Once again, we see how President Obama was treated differently by the Spanish media. Unfortunately, Hispanics were never told that Obama speaks from both sides of his mouth when it comes to immigration.
P.S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.
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