Come November 6, there is no clearer choice for Hispanic voters than to re-elect President Barack Obama.
The comparison between Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney shows a sharp ideological contrast about the path that the United States should follow. They have two different visions on the economy and social issues. The president's vision is inclusive, forward-looking and promotes growth without leaving people behind. The former governor's vision is divisive and his proposals are the same that have led to a huge wealth gap.
During his first term, Obama rolled up his sleeves at all fronts. He worked to bandage a nation on the brink of a financial collapse triggered by the mortgage and foreclosure crisis. Obama also delivered on key commitments: He brought U.S. troops home from Iraq and oversaw the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
In the face of fierce opposition, the President managed to pass a health care bill that will extend benefits to many in our community. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, adds nine million Latinos currently without coverage to the health care rolls – a life-saving boost for a community that suffers the highest uninsured rates in the country.
The very idea of repealing this law, which Romney proposed, is nonsense.
On health care, there is also a big difference between both candidates when it comes to women's reproductive health. With Romney, women are at risk of losing access to important services in employer-provided health insurance, like the option to make decisions about their bodies and health.
Unemployment remains above the national average for Hispanics. However, since February 2009, this rate dropped from 11.1% to 9.9%. Obama has taken critical steps, such as investing billions of dollars in community colleges and job training programs that help Latinos access better jobs.
The President recognizes the needs of our community and the brilliance of the sons and daughter we put forward. His historic appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is the brightest example of this.
Obama deserves a second term. The price of not casting a vote for him would be great.
In 2008, the vast majority of Hispanics backed then Senator Obama for president. Much of this support was based on the promise that he would deliver sensible and humane immigration reform. We are greatly disappointed in this unfulfilled commitment. Yet, we also recognize that Republicans did nothing to help the matter. And we still believe that reform is far more likely under an Obama presidency, not a Romney Administration.
The biggest disappointment was immigration. The ambitious promise to have comprehensive reform in year one collided against the economic emergency and then the political realities in Congress. What is unjustifiable was the federal government's improvised implementation of the Secure Communities program, which undermined the original principle of public safety. Among the good things is counting on the recent Deferred Action decision, which at least gives peace of mind to millions of young people.
Here the result is mixed, in the best of cases. But the Romney alternative is self-deportation and state laws like Arizona's, in which undocumented immigrants are seen as a danger instead of as contributors.
For all the boasting on the business savvy he would bring to steering the economy, Romney has said little to nothing about how immigrants make a positive difference in our nation's growth. This, in the face of the Partnership for a New American Economy emphasizing that passing a legalization measure like the DREAM Act would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy.
The blunt reality is that Romney has not worked to gain the trust of Latinos. Left up to Romney, Justice Sotomayor would not be sitting on the Supreme Court. The Republican candidate has said that given the chance, he would have voted against her nomination.
With a candidate, campaign and party that have failed to engage Hispanics, one can only wonder whether a binder of Latinos would even be on a shelf at the White House under their reign.
Finally, we think the president's vision is realistic and well supported. For example, about the need to have a 21st-century manufacturing industry that provides good jobs. Also, tackling the budget deficit with a combination of expense cuts and tax increases, and addressing the human and material infrastructure deficit with investments in education and projects. It is important to confront the debt, but even more important to strengthen the economy by stimulating demand.
The nation, in all of its diversity and economic disparities, needs a commander in chief who is president of all. We need a president who is consistent and who will wrestle with the toughest issues.
Obama has the mettle, vision and record that bode well not only for Latinos but also for future of our nation.