19 April 2012

Obama campaign hits back on US immigration

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Just one day after presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attempted to soften his position on US immigration by demoting immigration hardliner Kris Kobach on his campaign staff, President Obama's re-election campaign has announced an aggressive outreach programme to the growing Hispanic demographic.

US immigration

President Obama's re-election campaign has launched an aggressive campaign to appeal to Latino voters.

Mr Romney's campaign confirmed yesterday that Kris Kobach, Kansan Secretary of State and author of some of the nation's toughest US immigration laws, had been demoted from 'adviser' to 'supporter' on the former Massachusetts governor's campaign staff.

Many saw the move as an attempt to make Mr Romney, who in January described Mr Kobach's tough and controversial laws as a 'model for the nation', more appealing to the Hispanic demographic.

Hispanic voters currently account for 16% of the American population and their voter turnout in November's election is expected to be a record high. As many American-Hispanics have significant ties to Latin America, immigration is a key topic within Latino communities.

President Obama enjoyed almost a two to one ratio from Hispanic voters in his 2008 election victory yet his failure to secure the comprehensive immigration reform he promised in his first term has led some to consider the Hispanic vote is open to doubt. 

President Obama made immigration reform a cornerstone of his 2008 election campaign but, despite having a Democratic majority in the US Senate as well as the House of Representatives for his first two years in office, he failed to secure the reform. While Republicans have focussed on border security, President Obama's administration has provided discretionary powers to reduce the deportations of law abiding illegal immigrants as well as open developing economies such as Brazil and China greater access to US visa opportunities to boost tourism.

And now, following Mr Romney's attempt to soften his view on immigration, Mr Obama's campaign has launched an aggressive campaign intended specifically for Latino communities.

Titled 'Latinos for Obama', the initiative includes Spanish language ads to be heavily broadcast in swing states such as Florida, Colorado and Nevada as well as volunteer staff promoting the President's re-election.

"This election is an opportunity in this country for the Latino community to send a message," said Democratic Senator Robert Menendez who announced the new scheme.

"The reality is we look at [immigration reform] as the civil rights issue of our time."

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.

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