Lake Buena Vista, FL - Today, President Obama addressed the bipartisan National Association of Latino Local and Elected Officials, and proposed a credible policy agenda that supports the aspirations and concerns of working families across the U.S., including Latino voters. The president's address at the annual conference came one day after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered remarks. The following is a statement from SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina, who attended the conference and participated in a discussion about the importance of the Latino vote in the 2012 elections:
"What a difference a day makes. President Obama connects with Latino voters in a way Mitt Romney cannot even imagine.
"The president entered the room today with wide public support for his recent decision to defer deportations of law-abiding undocumented young immigrants, known as DREAMers, who were brought to this country as children.
"In contrast to Romney, who has insulted immigrants by claiming that we only come to the U.S. for a 'free deal,' the president described immigrants as strivers, dreamers, who work hard and 'don't come here looking for handouts.'
"The president's actions have spoken louder than his words. He is fighting for us and understands the issues we face. His healthcare policies would expand affordable coverage to nine million Latinos, his economic plans are geared toward tax cuts for the 99%, and his administration is working to reduce the threat of home foreclosures for working families.
"Romney, meanwhile, refused to say whether he supports or would end President Obama's policy on DREAMers if elected. He has threatened several times to veto the DREAM Act that would create a permanent solution. During his speech, Romney said he would reform the immigration system but without saying how. It is a distinction without a difference.
"Romney's words and actions during the recent GOP primary race already have spoken volumes about his lack of serious regard for Latinos, and voters know that Romney's policies would be devastating for them.
"Besides wanting to veto the DREAM Act, Romney espouses policies that would make life so difficult for immigrants that they would 'self-deport.' He has condescendingly joked about his 'unemployment status' when his pockets are lined with millions of dollars that he made by taking over companies and stripping workers of their jobs, benefits and pensions.
"The NALEO speech was Romney's chance to say something meaningful to Latino office holders from across the U.S. who deal with community issues every day.
"This was Romney's moment to say he would not reverse President Obama's decision to block deportations of otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. He could have outlined proposals for real comprehensive immigration reform (and reversed his call for self-deportation). He could have addressed the demands by the 99 percent for good jobs; a better education; and proposals to prevent foreclosures on the homes of hardworking Americans.
"But he didn't. He only offered the same old pabulum. Mitt Romney is so politically tone deaf, so out of step with the concerns of Latinos and all working Americans, that when he speaks, he sounds like a panderer. The only thing worse than a pandering politician is one who talks and says nothing.
"The choice is clear. On Nov. 6, we can re-elect a president who watches our backs, or we can elect a politician who tries to mislead us to our faces.
"Latino voters have the power to decide this election, and we must use that power wisely."
To learn more about where Romney stands on issues that are important to Latino voters and the Spanish language ad campaign by SEIU and Priorities USA Action, visit, http://www.seiu.org/2012/06/romneys-extreme-immigration-policies-out-of-touch.php