WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama sought to rally frustrated Latinos on Thursday with a firm promise to keep fighting for immigration reform and a renewed pledge to take executive action this year to reduce deportations of undocumented immigrants.
After enraging many Hispanic voters last month by delaying a change in immigration policies until after the November midterm elections, Obama has faced widespread condemnation from a voting bloc that helped him win the presidency in 2008 and 2012.
Latinos remain critical to Democrats’ hopes of holding onto the White House, not to mention Obama’s legacy, so the president said he would use the coming weeks to gin up support among the US public for another shot at reform.
Speaking at an annual gala held by Hispanic lawmakers, Obama said he shared the group’s frustration but needed its support to make any reform last beyond his presidency, which concludes in a little more than two years.
“I know there’s deep frustration in many communities around the country right now, and I understand that frustration because I share it,” he said at the Washington gala.
“But if anybody wants to know where my heart is or whether I want to have this fight, let me put those questions to rest right now: I am not going to give up this fight until it gets done.”