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Democrats’ Latino problem

Obama admin deports more immigrants than Bush

• May 21, 2012 10:13 am

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The Obama administration's failure to live up to its immigration policies could hurt Democrats' election chances this November by alienating Latino voters.

The White House policy of deporting only illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds has gone unenforced, with nearly 400,000 individuals deported in fiscal year 2011—the largest in the agency's history—according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Roll Call reports:

"I think that there are a large number of voters, both immigrant and Latino voters, that when they first think of the president, they don’t think of additional Pell Grants, or expansion of health care, or revamping of Wall Street, or a fairer tax [system]. They think of someone they knew, either personally or related to them, or a neighbor or friend, who has been deported. And that is what first and foremost comes to mind," Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said last week.

Frank Sharry, executive director of left-leaning immigration advocacy group America’s Voice, said the failure to properly implement the policy has wreaked havoc on the Latino community and — along with a weak economy and the unmet expectation of immigration reform — could discourage them to turn out to vote for Democrats.

"For low-propensity voters, it doesn’t take much to keep them at home rather than get them turned out," Sharry said, adding that it is too early to tell whether the issue will affect Latino voter turnout.