The aim is simple but ambitious: Lock up the Latino vote until President Obama uses his presidential powers to stop deportations of undocumented immigrants that separate families.
Several Latino organizations and churches, led by Familia Latina Unida, have launched a nationwide campaign to pressure Obama into signing an executive order to halt deportations of illegal immigrants who have U.S. citizen children.
“He needs the Latino vote and if he wants that vote, he needs to deliver on his promises,” says Emma Lozano, president of Familia Latina Unida and its parent organization, Centro Sin Fronteras.
The Lockbox Vote 2012 drive started this month, with volunteers at several sites in Chicago registering voters and asking them to sign a note that promises to vote to re-elect Obama in 2012 if he addresses the issue. One of those sites was Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters in the city. So far, the effort has yielded 1,000 ‘promises’ and organizers plan to take the campaign to Latino-heavy cities throughout the country. In all, they hope to gather 2 million promise notes.
Obama has received increased pressure from Latino leaders including Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Chicago and groups like Familia Latina Unida about immigration.
They say he has done little to make good on his campaign promise to fix the country’s immigration policies. They also want him to stop the separation of families by widening the interpretation of ‘parole in place,’ a provision that allows illegal immigrant parents to stay in the country if they have a sick U.S. citizen child and get on a path to citizenship provided they have no criminal charges.
“It’s a no brainer,” Lozano says. “He could say that a U.S. citizen child, whether its sick or not, needs his parents in order to survive in this country.”
Obama has repeatedly said that any immigration reform must be done in conjunction with Congress.
For more information about the drive, visit fluenglish.wordpress.com.