Thursday, July 10, 2008
Barack Obama has pledged to push through immigration reforms that would give America's 12 million illegal migrants a form of citizenship
"I will make it a top priority in my first year as President - not only because we have an obligation to secure our borders and get control of who comes in and out of our country...but because we have to finally bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows," he said in a speech in Washington. Both the Democratic nominee and his Republican rival Senator John McCain addressed the League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest Latino organization in the country. McCain, who co-sponsored failed immigration legislation last year is now in the awkward position of distancing himself from his own initiative. He now says any reform must be preceded by securing US borders. A recent AP-Yahoo News poll showed Obama leading McCain among Hispanics, 47% to 22%, but with 26% undecided. Despite his advantage, Obama fared poorly in the Democratic primary among Hispanics against Senator Hillary Clinton. He told his audience that their vote was crucial in swing states such as Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. John Kerry lost the New Mexico by 6,000 votes, with 40,000 Latino voters failing to show up at the polls.