Latino Daily News
Hispanic leaders from a dozen U.S. states have delivered an ultimatum to the Democratic Party, threatening to back an independent candidate in the 2016 presidential election, legislator Luis Gutierrez, if the Obama administration does not halt deportations of undocumented migrants.
The Chicago-based organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras/Familia Latina Unida headed the protest outside the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in Washington, giving the party a Nov. 27 deadline to reverse course.
“We’ve come to demand that Democrats provide deportation relief prior to Nov. 27, Thanksgiving Day, because we’ll already be at the polling stations gathering signatures on Nov. 4 (during the midterm elections) to launch our own Latino candidate, who will be Luis Gutierrez,” Emma Lozano, a Familia Latina Unida founder and coordinador, told Efe.
Immigrant-advocacy groups have been pushing for a comprehensive immigration overhaul for years. Over the past year, Republicans in the House of Representatives have blocked a Senate-approved bipartisan bill to bolster border security and provide a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented migrants.
President Barack Obama pledged to take executive action to sidestep the gridlock, but he postponed those measures until after the November midterm elections at the request of some sitting Democratic lawmakers whose seats in the lower house were in jeopardy.
Obama’s delays in halting deportations are seen as a betrayal by the Hispanic community.
The immigration activists pledged to organize mass marches on Nov. 28 – Black Friday, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season – if the White House does not heed their demand.
“We’ll come out and protest and we’ll block the streets under the slogan ‘We’re marching, not shopping,’” Lozano said, adding that her organization has met with Rep. Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, about a potential presidential run.
She said the Democratic congressman, a leader in the defense of immigrant rights on Capitol Hill, told her group in that meeting two weeks ago that he was “convinced” Obama will take action before the Nov. 27 deadline to enable undocumented migrants to obtain work permits and remain with their families in the United States.
“We’re not playing around anymore. We’re going to use our power to force the Democratic Party to deliver deportation relief … If they don’t respect us, if they don’t halt these deportations that cause so much pain, they’re not going to win the White House,” Lozano said.
“We maintain that the Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate are responsible for this failure, including that of not introducing a comprehensive immigration reform bill when they had super majorities in both chambers,” she said, referring to the first two years of Obama’s presidency.