Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama, McCain address La Raza convention; each promises 'immigration reform'

Democratic Presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama said that Latinos are “the critical swing group” in the presidential election. Obama was received like a rock-star Sunday from La Raza (The Race,) the largest Hispanic rights group in the U.S. He promised a new effort to pass an immigration bill during his first year in office.

Janet Murguia, president and chief executive of NCLR, heaped praise on Obama for both his leadership on immigration and his personal outreach to NCLR.

Republican Presidential nominee John McCain addressed the convention on Monday. He was the author of a 2006 bill that was the precursor to last year's amnesty proposal, but now says the government must prove it can secure the borders first as part of any immigration bill. He said his goal is to have border-state governors certify that the U.S.-Mexico boundary is secure before moving to the broader immigration issue.

Several attendees at the La Raza convention said McCain will have a difficult time trying to appeal to both Hispanic voters and conservatives who want to see stricter border enforcement.

Obama said that by embracing the 'enforcement-first' approach, McCain has now in effect 'abandoned his courageous stance' he took to support the 2007 bill.

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