Immigration: Latinos Call in Their Favor Early On

PHOTO: Assemblymember Gil Cedillo joins advocates in Los Angeles calling for immigration reform. For the past 72 hours since Barack Obama was reelected, advocates have called for immediate action.

Albert Sabaté/ABC/Univision News

President Barack Obama had barely been reelected when immigrant rights activists were already calling for him to enact immigration reform. (WHO is they? Name the org/orgs here so I'm clear) They held a vigil in Chicago outside Obama's victory celebration Tuesday night, made calls to the White House on Wednesday, and coordinated rallies for their cause in 18 states on Thursday.

Immigrant rights advocates have come out strong in calling Obama to tackle comprehensive immigration reform within the first year of his second term.

"We elected him for a reason. We elected him because we want comprehensive immigration reform. We won't stop until we get it," Dreamer Veronica Saravia told ABC/Univision News at a rally outside the White House on Thursday.

Obama had promised to but did not deliver in his first term – even with a Democratic-controlled Congress in his first two years.

Although a record Latino vote was key to Obama securing a second term, immigration reform is not guaranteed.

Advocates for reform said they would not wait any longer for leaders to address our broken immigration policy. "We're not taking anything for granted this year. We have to push right away," said Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Human Rights of Los Angeles.

With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats will undoubtedly need to find bipartisan cooperation to pass reform.

"It's very clear that republicans cannot continue on a national level without embracing the Latino community," said California Assembly member Gil Cedillo, who authored the California DREAM Act.

Latinos, according to Cedillo, "are primed to be republican. They're rich in family values, rich in religious values. They're hard working, entrepreneurial and not [for] big government. But republicans have chased them away."

Latinos are not one-dimensional voters, but anti-immigrant and anti-Latino rhetoric has united them.

"I bet you a lot of Latinos would be much more willing to vote republican," said Salas. But respect comes first, she explained. "I think they want the "R" of respect before the "R" of Republican.

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