Last week, President Barack Obama spoke before an audience of Hispanics and assured them that he would continue to “push hard” for an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws even as his administration steps up border security and deportations. At a discussion that took place at the White House, Obama said he has consistently supported revamping the outdated laws that regulate immigration while also creating a pathway to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally. This apparent support for immigration law overhaul on behalf of the federal government, however, has greatly declined in Congress, particularly among Republicans who have in turn stalled attempts to pass legislation. “We’re a nation of laws, but we’re also a nation of immigrants,” Obama said at the forum for readers of Yahoo! En Español, MSN Latino, AOL Latino and Huffington Post Latino Voices. According to a Pew Research Center in Washington, in the 2008 presidential election, 67% of Hispanic voters supported Obama while merely 31% backed the Republican candidate, Arizona Senator John McCain. Now, as the 2012 vote approaches, Obama’s support has been waning because of the sluggish economy and a stagnant unemployment rate of 9.1%. The unemployment rate among Hispanics was 11.3% in August, according to the Labor Department. This same month, Obama’s approval rating among Hispanics sank to 48% from 60% in January, according to a Gallup Organization analysis of daily tracking poll data. Still, more Hispanics approve (48%) of his job performance than those who disapprove (38%). By comparison, Obama’s approval rating among the general public was at 42% just last month. Yet these numbers are not nearly as robust as they should be come the next presidential election, for if the Republican Party nominates a candidate that is viable enough, this small margin may not be enough to secure a victory and a second term in office. For that reason, now more than ever, the President must engage in a strong and focalized campaign to win greater support from Hispanics.
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