WASHINGTON, July 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) issued the following statement today calling on President Obama to seize the opportunity to address issues critical to the Latino community.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) calls on President Obama to exercise strong leadership on key issues affecting the second-largest population group in the nation. Given the current challenges facing the nation, including our fiscal crisis, now is the most opportune time for President Obama to fulfill his commitment to the advancement of the Latino community.
Last week, the White House hosted more than 160 leaders from across the country for the Hispanic Policy Conference to engage in discussions with Administration officials on how to work together on policy issues that can move the Latino community forward. Next week, President Obama will address the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) at its Annual Conference, the largest and most important gathering of the nation's most influential individuals, organizations, institutions, and companies working with the Hispanic community.
We encourage President Obama to embrace the opportunity provided by his attendance at the NCLR Annual Conference to announce meaningful progress on key policy issues of most importance to this segment of the American population.
Among the issues, NALEO urges President Obama to strongly promote and support negotiation and passage of the DREAM Act. The President should also provide a more clear and expeditious process for implementing prosecutorial discretion to defer removal of DREAM Act eligible youth. The memorandum issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on this issue is a step in the right direction, but the Administration must establish a more uniform and transparent process to ensure stronger protections for these hard-working, law-abiding youth. At a time when our nation is engaged in critical discussions about the future of our economy, we can hardly afford to ignore the tremendous talent, contributions, and potential these young "DREAMers" represent for the future vitality of our economy.
We also urge the President to ensure that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) vigorously enforces the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protect Latinos from discrimination in the electoral process. The DOJ must carefully examine legislation enacted by jurisdictions that affects the ability of Latinos to register to vote and cast ballots (such as unfair restrictive photo identification requirements). It must also rigorously scrutinize the redistricting plans adopted by state legislatures, commissions, and other entities responsible for drawing new district lines. The DOJ should use its full authority to prevent the implementation of any laws, practices or redistricting plans that violate the VRA and jeopardize Latino voting rights.
The President should also continue to address the disproportionate impact of the recession on Latinos and their families. Latino policymakers are on the front lines of addressing these issues on the local and state levels across the country. As such, we ask for strong leadership, and a partnership, from the Administration and Washington in order to move our communities forward.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials is the leadership organization of the nation's more than 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials.
SOURCE NALEO Educational Fund