The Hispanic population in the United States has dramatically increased during the last 50 years and this increase is mostly due to immigration. Hispanics have affected elections at all levels. For instance, four years ago President Obama got about 67% of the Hispanic vote. At present, polls indicate that again a large majority of the Hispanic vote leans in the same direction.
The supermajority exhibited at the last election was achieved because of the campaign promises of candidate Obama: economic growth, good jobs, better education, and improved conditions for immigrants and their families (with hints of amnesty for immigrants here illegally). What exactly has the Hispanic population received as a result of this supermajority support and what should they expect for future support from the present administration?
The Hispanic population has the same needs as the rest of the population, namely, decent jobs, a safe environment, equal opportunity, and the possibility of an increasing standard of living in a vibrant country. Also, a large percentage of Hispanics, being new immigrants, have a keen interest in religion and social values. Unemployment of the general population runs around 8%. The latest numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the unemployment of Hispanics is 9.4%, of young Hispanics 27.8%. Due to the lack of jobs, 25% of Hispanics are below the poverty line, according to the Census Bureau.
The number of Hispanics in poverty during the last four years has grown to be the largest of any ethnic group. Hispanics have the tendency to generate and participate in small business; but due to additional regulations, poor economic conditions, and banking regulations, many of these small businesses have failed.
Thus, on the economic front, the Hispanic population has experienced a dramatic setback under the Obama administration. On the immigration front this administration has deported more than any other previous administration almost at twice the rate than the Bush presidency. It is not surprising that the outflow of immigrants now equals the inflow, yielding zero net gain.
The response of the Hispanic representatives in Congress and other phases of government to these very important issues has been almost non-existent—they have not raised questions about all the unfulfilled promises of this administration.
Even more surprising, representatives of the black community, which has also been greatly affected by the economy, have demonstrated much more displeasure but in the polls over 90% continue to support the president.
Having personally had the opportunity to observe and experience the growth the Hispanic community for more than 50 years (from the time of President Eisenhower), I can say that previous governments (to a large extent) displayed a somewhat benevolent, paternalistic approach without undue promises. In contrast, the Obama administration has made and emphasized a series of promises – jobs, education, immigration, integration and many others – and has failed to deliver, and in many instances has worsened conditions for Hispanics. The Hispanic population should not sell itself cheap by accepting empty promises. Hispanics should embrace the American system and work to improve it by demanding that politicians fulfill their promises or, if not, by voting them out of office.
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Albert Mercado served as foreman of the Santa Barbara Grand Jury from 2006-2007